"Running With The Dogs"

By Prof. Jocko

As hard rock comes full-circle, it’s nice to hear a band that doesn’t feel the need to focus on the miserable aspects of the world; after all, it isn’t very hard to depress the mind of todays’ impressionable youth. Hailing from the Cambridge area of the United Kingdom, The Treatment are now on their sophomore album titled “Running With The Dogs”, which proves they are more than just a debut-album flare-up. This album seems to take a little from several different genres of musical styles, combining for one unique set of kick-ass tunes, wrapped up on one impressive LP.

I wouldn’t necessarily call it sleaze-rock, probably not glam, either, and certainly not metal; with hints of blues-filled energy and hard-hitting riffs, rhythms & scrappy vocals, “Running With The Dogs” has a captivating sound of its own as each track compliments the one before it. As a product of 80’s music, I am very familiar with what makes this genre of music successful. You need to have a few hard-hitting songs to grab the listeners attention, then mix it up with some diverse, heavier rhythmic parts, throw in a little of a blues element, and even some acoustic parts with a ballad or two as a popular contrast. Look no further, because this one has it all.

When it comes down to the nuts and bolts of each song, you’ll recognize the many quintessential classical hard rock components that separate each track with its individual qualities. Although there are a few track titles that might give you the wrong impression, let me tell you that there isn’t any cheesy, bubble-gum, bullshit on this album. However, there are some areas, more specifically with the chorus’ of a few tracks than can lead you in that direction. The opening track, titled “I Bleed Rock + Roll”, opens with some repetitive elements, mainly with the title of the song that may become tiresome. However, the following track is called “Drop Like a Stone”, and does redeem the more impressive qualities that the band has to offer. This is where the vocal talent of Matt Jones is clearly evident; reaching a higher pitch with the chorus that is the pinnacle of the song. There are a couple of less-memorable tracks, perhaps, but that aspect is soon eclipsed with a track called “The Outlaw”, making this my personal favorite over the other 12 songs. The intro to the song sets the stage for not knowing what is about to follow, but when the song kicks into high gear with the guitar work of Ben Brookland, it really seems to reinforce the raw energy about to be released that crescendos as the song continues.

Quick to follow is a track called “Emergency”, which compliments the previous song with an edgy guitar riff and bluesy rhythmic patterns which really gives the song some room to breathe, showcasing the individual contributions from each member of the band. As with all bands, they strive to look for the one radio song that catapults them into the top 40 starlight, and I believe that “Cloud Across The Sun” could be that song. It’s not that this one is any better than any of the others by any means; it’s just that it seems to possess those certain qualities that captivate mainstream listeners. With a slower tempo, and dream-like vocals, it falls slightly into the soft-rock category, made popular by radio today. I’m not much of a fan for top 40, so I’m glad to say that this is the only one of its kind throughout the rest of the album. 

Although separated by several tracks, the apparent ballad titled “Unchain My World” could also be a close comparison. Don’t confuse the two, though, as this particular track utilizes acoustic guitar, and stronger backing vocals which supplement Jones’ true vocal talent. The final staple on this prolific album is called “Don't Get Mad .Get Evil”, which has a dynamic tempo that is perfectly layered with a harmonic chorus which compliments the darker side of the band. Although I’m somewhat perplexed by the off-brand name of the band, I must say that it doesn’t reflect in the enormous potential of this group of talented, up incoming rock stars; I certainly look forward to hearing their next album, and everything that follows.