By Jeremy Farkas
Hands Like Dogs is an alternative folk rock projected based in Ottawa, ON and formed in 2016. Call It A Night is sole member, Scott Hutchison’s third release under the Hand’s Like Dogs pseudonym, and his longest release to date. Call It A Night is a delightful blend of lo-fi indie, pop sensibilities, big choruses and bluesy guitar stylings reminiscent of The Weakerthans, Modest Mouse, and mellower FIDLAR tunes.
Call It A Night starts with a smash, with the opener “Sorry To Say”, beginning with an Attack In Black-esque guitar lead, building into a Modern Baseball style, ABAB structure. The dynamics in this song are incredible, starting sweet and getting more aggressive as the song goes along, ending in a blaze of fuzzed guitars, vocals, and crash cymbals.
Another highlight of the album comes in the form of track 2, “Grey Sky”. The bass riff that accompanies the pounding toms is the perfect contrast to the banging ending of “Sorry To Say”. The way the rhythm section lays back for the majority of the song allows Hutchison’s vocals to shine through and let the listener focus on the lyrics, my favourite in particular being: “Everything I tried to hide will be laid bare before their eyes.”
There’s a consistent theme of melancholy that runs throughout Call It A Night that ties the album together fabulously well. Most of the tracks are low/mid tempo jams that have a base layer of drums, bass, acoustic guitar, electric rhythm guitar, with melodic guitar lines sprinkled throughout while the somber vocal stylings of Hutchison’s fit comfortably in between everything. The lyrical themes throughout include addiction and alienation, seeming incredibly self reflective, but entirely relatable at once. Stand out tracks lyrically include “What We Deserve”, “What’s the Difference” and the fully acoustic “I Give Up”.
The album artwork for Call It A Night is a lot of fun in the way that it contrasts the faceless silhouette at the forefront with the beautiful, bold colours in the background. The theme of the cover fits with the mood and content of the album, with a nighttime scene depicting a seemingly empty street, an apartment complex, and a parking lot, highlighting the feeling of loneliness everyone can feel, even in a big city, so close to so many people.
Call It A Night will resonate with anyone that’s felt disillusioned with themselves and the world around them. This 30-minute slapper has the perfect length and pace for the repeat button and will happily find a home amongst a playlist of indie classics. Call It A Night and other Hands Like Dogs releases are available on bandcamp for pay-what-you-like.