Pavlov’s Dog - Prodigal Dreamer

Pavlov’s Dog Prodigal Dreamer cover
Pavlov’s Dog
Prodigal Dreamer
Rockville Music
It’s a funny, situation with a “band” such as Pavlov’s Dog. A band that had more lineup changes than releases, who has more than one releases, which were presumed lost, but somehow surfaced years later to be offered to their audience and who in the public’s eye are nothing more than a one hit wonder from the 70s, who’s according to urban legends their vocalist committed suicide, back in the day, unable to cope with the bullying his “thin” vocals caused him to receive, which was of course a fake story, the band/Surkamp didn’t refute (remember the band existed long before the internet was a thing), since they weren’t doing much. Since it was revealed that Surkamp was in fact alive and well, more releases and tours have ensued. Other than David Surkamp on guitars, lyrics and song, we find his wife Sara being involved in a similar capacity, Abbie Steiling on violin, which often offers welcome prog/folk flourishes in many a song, Rick Steiling on bass guitar, Mark Maher on keys, David Malachowski on electric guitar, Paul Hennerich on trumpet and Robert Marstiller on drums and percussion. Quite the collective then.
Well if you remember the band’s style from way back then, not much has changed. It’s a singer songwriter construct, expressed by a full band. Surkamp isn’t as annoyingly exaggerating, but is still passionate and feels every word he sings. Highlights of the album include the opener “Paris”, a truly poignant elegy... the quirky “Hard Times” that relies as much to it rhythm, as well as the nice violin motif to progress. “Winterblue” has some serious Dylanesque undertones, but through the bands own prism. “Thrill of it All” shrills a bit too much on the overall hurt but “Easter Day” is some classic Americana that lightens things from deep maroon to light grey. “Hurting Kind” is a cool slow ballad with country/blues vibes. “Aria” is a somewhat more experimental piece, for the band, without escaping the boundaries of what the band is known about. A nice, melancholic ballad, with a nice bridge and a nice melody on the chorus that is a bit exaggerated sadly. “Waterlow” has a catchy chorus with the fiddle maudlin along, a really folk blues ditto. “Suzanne” is another ponderous, sad song with smooth violin and gut-wrenching cries of love past “Crying Forever” is a blues standard that has been covered by Savoy Brown among others and here it is presented by missus Surkamp. “Being in Love” seems like some mid 60s pop number, while “Shaking Me Down” has more of a 70s early gritty pop rock sound, with some nice and persistent percussion. To close the album “The Winds Wild Early” is a rather bohemian epic that veers on and quietly dies down.
While all these years later the band might be still an acquired taste due to the vocals, the songwriting, however simple, is effective. Their palette extends from pop to rock, through folk and blues… not really caring much about categorization. You’ll either get it or not. And in case you do, you’ll enjoy this quite a bit. A band that seemingly returns only when it has something to say. Strangely refreshing in a musical landscape with a gazillion copy/paste releases vying for the listeners’ attention.