Latest sound offering from three-piece Ontarian Cross Dog has got the band to their heaviest and sexiest state. Noise-covered and metal-leaning, this one’s got some definite punch and defines the upward curve in quality to the band’s discography.
In terms of feminism, satanic slaying of science-denying folk, awakening the cries of innermost anger, and ripping open flimsy societal constructs, Hollow has you covered. Vocalist Tracy A belts out her roughest vocal style to date with some seriously poetic lyrics, truly bringing light to an apparent songwriting skill. Her frontwoman power is only dimmed (but not really) by the stoner metal tendency to abort any guitarist and have all the heaviness you could demand from drummer Mikey Reid and bassist Mark Rand. Not only do you get to enjoy a well-rounded and unique ensemble of instruments but also a slew of noise coming from only the bass. “II” flowing directly into “Rapist” offers a wonderful example of pedal work, that only enriches the band’s unique feel and adds to the overall composition of the record. That alone impresses and has me listening again only to find more noise pockets in little nooks and crannies of this album.
Many areas of great flow can be found throughout all twelve tracks, with a fantastic homage to stoner metal, but some stand out more than others in terms of general movement; “Scars” and “Glass of Blood” really get me every time. Head starts bobbing, foot starts stomping, general need for pizza, sharp objects, and a great punk show bubbles up inside me. However, I wish this flow can be found everywhere on this album. Some instances are a little more monotone, where without hard breakdowns and noise-fuelled roughness, can lead to a few very similar sounding songs especially in areas where vocal intonations are the same as other tracks on the record. This generally isn’t a big issue with Cross Dog when examining the discography. Previous albums show that even in simple punk vibes, there can be lots of ups and downs, and variety in mood even within the exact specific genre.
At the end of the day, nothing can take away my little girl crush on Cross Dog. They’re not afraid to pull whatever the hell they damn please out of whichever hole they please, and make it sound daring and attractive and super fucking rough all at the same time. Massive respect to Cross Dog, their experimental bratty allure, and not often understood way of doing things.
Written by Talia Plante
*edited by Mike Milito