second album syndrome. the most deadly of diagnoses for any artist’s content. so many up-and-comers fall at the second hurdle as they run out of the golden stuff they’ve honed for years to put on their first album. second album syndrome so often coincides with a sense of “oh my god, people like us, quick, make music so they like us longer”, only to produce content not at all of the first albums quality.
fortunately, nottingham based band dog is dead, or d.i.d if you don’t want to offend your grandma who’s got 8 of the little shits, have a solution.
disappear for a while.
dog is dead decided, like the world cup, the olympics or leap years, it was time to come back four years later with something new, and boy did it work.
let’s take things back to the year 2012, when everyone was terrified we’d all die by the end of the year. d.i.d released their first album all our favourite stories and it has to be said, things went rather bloody well. the five lads had a couple of big indie hits hidden within that first album, songs that most people know even now, not the sort to be thrown into the indie archives and forgotten. ask anyone older than 4 and with indie knowledge if they’ve heard of a song called teenage daughter, you’ll be intrigued by how popular it is. the album wasn’t a one song wonder either, embedded within the 10 tracks were do the right thing, talk through the night, two devils and glockenspiel song (which is a banger that actually uses a bloomin’ saxophone). they had an audience willing to listen, people liked them.
so, they jumped on their own hype and churned out meh song after meh song? no my inner devil’s advocate, no they did not.
the lads decided to take some time off making new stuff and just focus on promoting their first album for a while, neglecting the urge to rush. the world waited and waited, while d.i.d worked patiently on a new album, when they finally got round to it. hype dissipated, surely enough, fewer and fewer people were talking about the band, but there was still no half-arsed content to be found.
but the second album eventually came, early in december this year, it did not disappoint – at all.
*in steps the personification of the ‘the state we’re in’ album.
“Oh me? Well what can I say” *flaps hand in flattered fashion.
quite a lot as it turns out. d.i.d took their time with this one and it really paid off, producing an album of absolute quality, with arguably better traits than the first album. it’s easy to label the first album as a generic indie album with a tincy-wincy bit of quirk found within the five piece band and the unique instruments. this second album on the other hand, the state we’re in’ has more than that, sure the songs might not be floor fillers in the way the first album was yet, but songs such as ‘flush’, ‘funnybones’ and ‘the state we’re in’ come across as emotive. they replicate the feelings I get when I listen to ‘all these things that I’ve done’ by the killers, and those are some strong-ass feelings. the extra member pair of hands over generic four piece bands probably helps in this case, a chorus of voices is often more emotive than just the one in many scenarios. however, the lads were still a five-some for their first album, so they’ve clearly picked up on a hint somewhere over the four years.
i’m not saying what d.i.d have produced second time around is better than the first effort, i’m just showing what a 4 year hiatus can do for a band. sure, they’re not playing packed stadiums yet, if that’s even what they want. but i went to see them recently, an intimate small gig, and it was one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to, the people there really, really liked dog is dead.
so that’s what you get for disappearing for 4 years, a very good second album, and a devoted fan base. is it all that bad?
Order Volume #16 now.
Join our Club.
Words by Alex Slater