Household Dogs: To Be Adored EP and live review

I recently caught the power of Leeds 6 piece Household Dogs live recently. They were playing support to the mighty Snapped Ankles. I must confess while I admire the sheer power and energy of the main act, I find my personal attention to them wandering after a few tracks. Tickets were not a snip, and so I was most grateful to the venue for snagging me a free ticket which enabled me to run free with the Household Dogs for the evening.

What really struck me about Household Dogs live was the intensity and the massive sound (and hahaha yes, I get the general concept that the bigger the number in the band, the bigger the sound and complexity).

I remember staying at a hotel in Warsaw near the zoo years ago. From our room, we could see the bear enclosure and I watched that poor frustrated, angry bear prowl up and down all day. I didn’t sleep at all that trip for pain for what that bear was going through. Of course the stage is an artificial construct, and the artists performing are only trapped for a while, but the prowl and movements of Household Dogs lead singer Declan Newcombe transported me back to the intensity of emotion, the power, the emotion of a caged animal.

It was no small relief that on thanking the band for their performance later, my fingers remained attached to my hand and I wasn’t given a deserved vicious mauling for sticking them into that cage. Haha, a perfectly friendly and safe group.

Household Dogs debut EP To Be Adored, released this month (March 2022) captures that self same brooding sense of unease, and huge emotional tension in the live performance, and more, it also does it in a very classy and beat friendly way.

The opening track Jesus in Leathers is a beaty little number but with an underlying menace in spades. The lyrics of the song seems to me to evoke something of the layer upon layer of history and the ghosts that we can see in the present everyday. It’s quite some trip, and it feels a little like a modern electro monastic chant.

The Household Dogs style and performance will appeal to the fans of the likes of Depeche Mode, Nick Cave and you want it darker era Leonard Cohen. If you like your music to have a bit of menace, bite and lyrics to puzzle over, then To Be Adored is an EP for you.

Title track To Be Adored reminds me of a late period Leonard Cohen in a collab with the Arctic Monkeys.  There’s a tasty bit of almost jazzy late night vibes under some incredibly dark November skies, while the waves crash it hard against the shore. Damage awaits in this song. There’s bad news in that To Be Adored you are out in the midst of the danger of the elements rather than watching it through a window. Household Dogs bring it to you real and hard. It’s wild out there.

The track lyrics makes me think perhaps of that restless unease of what might have been if only things had gone differently. There is an added complexity in that the rewriting of history, or the achieving of what you crave might not actually get you the results you imagined.

Juliette reminds me again of Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave or even Marc Almond but perhaps more because of their love for the French/European torch singer, full of real hard emotion. Here if I close my eyes, I think of a couple at a cafe corner table, so involved in their conversation and the lightening flashes of feelings above them, that it doesn’t matter if that coffee they ordered turns up or not. There’s a rare and special intensity to Household Dogs and another classy, swingy feel underpinning the sound.

It’s almost a relief that the final track on this magnificent emotional rollercoaster EP, Ain’t That Girl At All feels to have a different, less intense tone. Instead there’s a string of conscious thought flowing through the lyrics; enough to puzzle through and tease over. In many band’s armoury a track like this is a deep thinker, for Household Dogs this is a lighter tease.

Need I spell it out, dear reader, this Household Dogs debut EP is a triumph, I already adore it.

Household Dogs have an EP launch coming up at the wonderful Leeds Oporto on March 28. Get on it.

Chris R

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