El Dog (3 stars)

El Dog

Oran Mor, Glasgow, Wed 12 Dec


Being named after family friends Robert Bell and Paul Buchanan of The Blue Nile may have helped engender El Dog singer Bob (Robert Paul) Rafferty’s interest in making music. Certainly, though, the work of the teary-eyed Glaswegians has had no bearing on the sound of Rafferty’s band.

Certainly, you wouldn’t imagine that Buchanan et al would ever consider taking to the stage in matching black karate pyjamas, nor might you hear them give a between-song introduction as an intensely corny, pre-recorded Shaolin master’s speech. El Dog seem to thrive on such gimmickry, however, which rather detracts from the proficiency of the quartet’s music.

Their self-billing as having any kind of musical kinship with Mogwai is not entirely accurate, though the fact that their debut album was mixed by Aereogramme’s Iain Cook isn’t a surprise. El Dog are noisy, but the old school, heads-down riffing of ‘Shamrock’ (possibly a pun there) and ‘Last That We Met’ place them more in line with early Biffy Clyro, while ‘Rhythm Tooth’ is a passable impersonation of a vintage Radiohead. More musical focus and less fancy dress might see them progress.

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