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In the Kennel
Iranian Indie Rockers Make a Defiant Debut
When you hear about a band escaping political repression to make their music, it raises expectations for their debut in way that isn’t really fair. In the case of Iran’s The Yellow Dogs, who resettled Brooklyn because rock music is illegal at home, it doesn’t really matter, because their debut EP In the Kennel easily lives up to their dramatic backstory.
In the Kennel reveals a band with a lot to say, musically and lyrically. The quartet claims influences like Arctic Monkeys,The Faint, and Modest Mouse, but they actually sound a lot cooler than that.
The four carefully crafted songs on the EP hearken back to the dissonant yet danceable post-punk of groups like Talking Heads, The Fall, and Gang of Four more strongly than do most latter-day groups like Arctic Monkeys. Though the heartbeat bass, electro synth, and politically aware lyrics on “Where He Belongs” touch on The Faint school of dance punk.
“Gastronomic Meal,” the group’s first real single and the second track on the EP, packs the funk of Gang of Four but loses that group’s asceticism and fear of the sensuality threatening to break out amid those angular grooves.
Guitarist and lead vocalist Obaash’s English-language lyrics and vocals conjure the abstract and surreal storytelling of Talking Head’s David Byrne,The Fall’s Mark E. Smith, and Gang of Four vocalist Jon King. Their music doesn’t sound dated, however, it just sounds raw and unfiltered in the same way that their predecessors did. Hints of an Eastern melodic sensibility set them apart as well.
This short statement from the young band is crammed with ideas just begging for more room to stretch — raising expectations yet again for a debut full-length. This time those expectations will be well justified.