DOE - GROW INTO IT
Doe - Grow Into It
Topshelf Records/Big Scary Monsters
standard black LP pressing (limited to 500)
Once again, RIP Doe. I didn't expect the follow-up post to my retrospective on Doe's debut to be their second and sadly final album, but I've just become a cat dad to two kittens and a few posts had to get rescheduled, so happy three years (and one day) to this nugget. Nevertheless, like Iggy and Moss, the London trio's sophomore attempt shows growth over a short period of time, coming in just over two years from their first record. Again with this album, I bought it after what I didn't know would be the last time I saw them at Soup Kitchen in Manchester. The band themselves were in the crowd for most if not all of the supports, bobbing along to some belter local talent. It was a nice sight to see, as I've personally experienced shows where the headliner has hung out in the green room until it's their time to shine, so to see headliners genuinely enjoying their supports was a welcome vision to behold. Doe even covered one of my favourite songs of all time, "Just What I Needed" by The Cars, so it wasn't all that bittersweet. After this tour, they'd go over to America and tour there, play on KEXP and at the end of that, announce their split and final show at The Lexington in London. I was unable to get there, but I'm very thankful that they finally released the show as a live album last year. Check it out if you haven't already, it's a truly fitting ending. Viva la Doe.
Grow Into It lives up to its title with opening track "My Friends", a cracking starter that slowly builds layers upon itself until the second chorus explodes, with vocalist and rhythm guitarist (sorry about the baritone mistake!) Nicola Leel screaming her fucking lungs out in harmony with drummer Jake Popyura providing her original excellent vocal line from the first chorus. Lead guitarist Dean Smithers adds some flavour with his ever-twisting lead lines that never seem to outstay their welcome, despite being infused deeply into each and every track. He's got a knack for sitting comfortably in everything the three-piece writes, a truly gorgeous sonic blend. Talking about gorgeous, I fucking love "Labour Like I Do". A well-crafted song about the qualms of giving but no getting a shred in return, it's relatable, and the storytelling culminates in flipping the tables, giving more weight to the album's motif of growth and development. From a musical standpoint, I can't applaud the band enough for creating such an earworm; Smithers' slide guitar in the verses is a genius move, Popyura's vocals wrapping under Leel's in the second half of the verses is brilliant, and that fucking belter little synth line in the choruses still surprises me when it comes in, but it's such a grand addition to the tune, giving the song a Rentals vibe. As the track flies off at the end like a UFO, "One at a Time" introduces a lush acoustic guitar to the mix with a slightly etheric tone, further strengthening the arsenal that the band wields. It's got the snark of The Muffs with the heart and soul of Phoebe Bridgers
"Turn It Around" is alright, another exhibition of the great punk guitar work displayed thus far, but it's lacking a little bit of the punch from the prior tracks. However, the closer of Side A "Respite" is proof that the trio aren't just crafty in the confines of the 3-minute punk rule. The longest tune found on Some Things..., it's a masterclass in dynamics and hooky instrumentation, thudding in the verses and literally crying out in the choruses, with softer breaks in between. Leel is never more impactful than when she calmly sings the album title in the closing moments of the track.
Listen to: Labour Like I Do, Cathy, Team Spirit
FFO: The Muffs, The Rentals, Phoebe Bridgers