Vinyl LP, Compact Disc (CD)
Seth Smith and Nancy Urich are a deeply inspiring creative couple. In addition to forming Dog Day, one of the most beloved indie rock bands to emerge from their hometown of Halifax, they’ve spent the past decade shifting their focus into making horror films with an equally distinctive DIY approach. The duo’s 2012 debut, LOWLIFE, was a cult festival hit, which led to the success of their next feature, The Crescent, a tale of trauma told through claustrophobic supernatural horror that screened in theaters across Canada and influenced cult horror films like last year’s The Lighthouse. It also resulted in new Dog Day music—beginning with a standalone track composed for The Crescent (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) and culminating in Present, a comeback album and career standout.
Though seven years have passed since their last release, the band’s hooky, slightly shoegazey sound remains intact across Present, contrasted with hints of gothic gloom and ramshackle synth-pop. Smith’s high tenor invites comparisons to Doug Martsch or David Bazan, while the standout songs in which Urich takes the lead (“Mind Reader,” “You Were You”) possess a dreamy, dazed quality that recalls the Deal sisters. Dog Day’s original drummer KC Spidle and keyboardist Megumi Yoshida (previously playing with Urich in the group Not You) flesh out the arrangements in a way that becomes more apparent in Present’s back half, especially on the supercharged “Inner Space.” The album’s overall tone is one of melancholy longing—but listening to “Does It Hurt To Laugh” as Smith flips the meme-like lyric “everything is fine” into a repeating incantation, it’s hard not to feel downright moved.