Record Review - 2 February 06 2002

Perhaps best known for appearing with the Sex Pistols in the classic documentary Punk Rock Movie, first-wavers Slaughter & the Dogs hail from the English town of Manchester and come with an impressive musical pedigree. Their recording career stretches back to 1978's Do It Dog Style. And with a determination that could only be described as dog-like, they've come sniffing around the scene again after a 10-year hiatus.

Recorded last summer, the new Beware of ... features plenty of the same muscular, guitar-heavy rock on which the Dogs' reputation was built. Although the disc-opening "Saturday Night 'Till Sunday Morning" sounds more like Thin Lizzy meets the Kinks than something torn from the Blank Generation songbook, frontman Wayne Barrett adds plenty of bark to guitarist Mick Rossi's bite. And the tune — though maddeningly repetitive — is undeniably catchy.

More typically punk in sonic demeanor are the rabid romper "Car Thief" and the darkly prophetic "Hell in New York," a Dogs original whose growling rhythm evokes Iggy Pop and whose lyrics eerily predict the Sept. 11 attack ("Skyscraper's falling as New York comes down"). Similarly, the Dogs' unexpected cover of the Beatles' "Hard Day's Night" — apparently chosen for no reason other than its "been working like a dog" lyric — becomes a serendipitous tribute to the late George Harrison, whose signature ringing 12-string intro and twangy solo break are reproduced here with a frothy combination of ferocity and fidelity.

After a salivating salvo of tunes about cocaine ("Blow"), phone sex ("I Got Your Number") and assorted vices ("The Rope Around Your Neck"), Beware of ... concludes on a refreshingly upbeat note with "Anthem for the Kids." An ode to simpler pleasures, "Anthem" describes a typical night in the life of a happy nuclear family, closing the CD with images bound to set even the most cynical tail a-wagging.

Slaughter & the Dogs play the Masquerade Fri., Feb. 8.??