"Dog Years"

By Dr. Abner Mality

First thing I think of when I see the name "The Great Sabatini" is Robert Duvall. Whoops, that was the "The Great SANTINI". Oh, well. From now on, though, I will be thinking of "Dog Years" and what a scruffy, lovable chunk of noise rock this. Rather like the toothy Muppet Monster on the cover.

Noisy guitar rock seems to be on a big upswing lately, with bands dipping into early 90's roots and mixing in a bit of modern flavor. With The Great Sabatini, I think we might have one of the best of the noise revivalists yet. "Dog Years" is sloppy, untamed and a great deal of fun to listen to. A lot of punk rockers and metalheads would find it easy to get into these guys. They know how to write catchy, concise songs that are still loud enough to piss off the neighbors. And the songs bounce around different styles a lot without losing their core sound. That takes some doing.

"The Royal We" starts with a chug almost like prime 80's thrash before morphing into a noise-soaked knuckle sandwich complete with screaming vocals. "Guest Of Honor" and "Nursing Home" don't piss around...they are short, fast and extremely abrasive hunks of punky anger. "Reach" is a slow, syrupy slog through an electric swamp...really gooey! "Aleka" is a weird diversion that sounds like a cross between Hawaiian music and woozy jazz...if you remember the crazy old Helmet song "The Silver Hawaiian", you'll know the general neighborhood. As you can tell, humor is not unknown to the Great Sabatini and that, also, is a real help.

Basically, the album is a real trip through a warped wonderland of off-kilter sounds, finally ending with the surprisingly epic "Life In Wartime", featuring piano. At the end of the ride, you'll be bruised but with a big smile on your face. "Dog Years" is an album that only the most misanthropic could dislike.