The Sheepdogs’ unlikely ascent to the cover of Rolling Stone magazine made the Saskatchewan retro-rockers the ultimate grassroots marketing success story. And though it was fan voters who got them there, music lovers everywhere should regret that such a rare, career-making honour was wasted on one of the most wholly unoriginal bands working in the realm of popular music today.
In keeping with the botched tie-dye job that graces the album cover, The Sheepdogs’ fourth release is a lazily executed retread of the plodding, mid-tempo ’70s-era tunes that are firmly entrenched as archetypal classic rock. It’s fitting that they didn’t even bother to come up with an original name for this collection of uninspired, riff-recycling jams—the song titles alone (“Laid Back,” “Feeling Good,” “Alright OK”) are evidence that The Sheepdogs are unable to liven up their rehashed sounds with any kind of lyrical artistry.
Many popular rock bands (Nickelback, for example) take heat for churning out song after identical song, but there’s a reason The Sheepdogs have thus far been spared the vitriol: Their music is embarrassingly simplistic and formulaic, but it’s also too forgettable to be truly reviled.
Playlist pick: Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Chronicle,Vol. 1
The Sheepdogs play Echo Beach (909 Lakeshore Blvd. W.) on Sept. 15.