Dog Unit + Support

Dog Unit + Support

Event Time Sat 23rd Nov at 8:00pm-Sun 24th Nov at 2:00am
Event Location Hope & Ruin, Brighton and Hove
Age Restrictions
Age restrictions: 18+

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Dog Unit + Support £13.20 Buy

Dog Unit + Support

FORM Presents: 

Dog Unit 


Midway through At Home, Dog Unit’s debut album, at the end of the record’s fourth earworm in succession, there’s a pause for breath. It’s the first time the music has come to a halt since the LP began — the first time this ribbon of sound has been cut, after twenty-plus minutes of motorik groove, nagging riff, and insistent hook — and as a result, it also serves as perhaps the clearest indicator yet that At Home is more than just a collection of individually wound super-melodic instrumental rock songs; it’s a suite of music precision-engineered for a single sitting, complete with resting stops, signposts and tiny diversions in just the right places along the way.

Anyone who’s seen Dog Unit live won’t be surprised by what that pause signifies: indeed, this knack for world creation has been the band’s MO since their inception in 2019, writing and performing music designed to arc over the course of an uninterrupted hour, with the four Londoners’ musical idiosyncrasies combining for just the right recipe: Henry Scowcroft and Sam Walton on guitars that alternate between howling feedback and poised melodicism, James Weaver, a pop-dub bass maestro whose minimalist style reveals a genius for conciseness, and motorik drummer Lucy Jamieson, the most reliable timekeeper this side of an atomic clock. Together, on stage or on record, there’s a sense that this isn’t four musicians, but one 16-limbed creature guiding its listeners on an undulating journey of sleek modernist wonder, like a bullet train scything beautifully through Japanese countryside.

That half-time pause on At Home might be the album’s most noticeable breath-point, but on closer listening, moments like that are dotted all over the album, and this focus on flow, aiming to make the entirely instrumental record sing, is 100% played-for. “On tour last year, we road-tested two or three new songs that had a really strong sense of where in an hour-long gig or on an imagined album they should sit,” explains Sam of At Home’s gestation. “Once those tent-pole tracks were finished, and once we had a blueprint for the structure of the as-yet unwritten album, we realised the rest of the music could kind of be written to order: we knew we needed an opener to side two and a midway breather, for example, and a sort of ‘closing credits’ song, and a climactic moment near the end that led from civility to menace.

“And because we’d already made those plot decisions, we knew what to write, which keys to write in, how long each song should be, etc, to make sure everything flowed from start to finish as well as possible — we were just answering our self-imposed briefs.”

Over the course of 2023, then, Dog Unit enacted their meticulous plan, writing and recording in the studio while trying out newly written parts of At Home at their Servant Jazz Quarters live residency. Each time at the intimate Dalston bar, the band tweaked and perfected their new material in front of a curious audience who grew into a cult following, drawn to an unorthodox live show in which a boiler-suited band, seated in horseshoe formation, played straight through for a gloriously intense unbroken hour of music.

Taking everything they’d learnt from their gigs back to the studio, Dog Unit have made a record of instrumental music that leans just as heavily on the tune-first, purist pop qualities of Burt Bacharach or the Strokes as much as it does the groove and ambiance of the group’s post-rock forebears like Tortoise or Stereolab: across the 42 minutes of At Home, there’s frantic bangers and bubbling atmosphere, rise and fall, point and counterpoint, echoes and callbacks, and the kind of production intricacies that only become more detailed the closer you listen.

But zooming out for a moment, At Home is also the latest step on a longer path for the London quartet, one that began in 2020 with their first self-released EP, Barking to Gospel (mixed during the first covid lockdown by Kieran Hebden, a.k.a. Four Tet), and continued with 2022’s Turn Right And Right Again EP on Brace Yourself Records (recorded by audiobooks’ David Wrench with Hebden continuing on mixing duties). Both EPs drew critical acclaim from publications including The Sunday Times, MOJO, and Loud & Quiet and radio support from the likes of Steve Lamacq on 6Music and John Kennedy on RadioX, and remain lovely vignettes of the nascent Dog Unit sound, all wistful melancholia wrapped in a joyful noise.

However, those first two releases were also the sound of a band in early development: “With the two EPs, we were very much finding our voice in real time, sort of feeling our way with all the microphones turned on,” Sam recognises. “But to continue the metaphor, on At Home, we’ve worked out what we wanted to say before standing up and saying it with intent.”

That sense of purpose marks At Home as an evolution for Dog Unit in pretty much every field: compared to the EPs, the album's composition and arrangement is more considered, ambitious, and thoughtfully executed, the recording is more lovingly put together, and the production is more sonically adventurous. The album may have been built with architectural exactitude, but that technicality never detracts from the experience of the record — indeed, it contributes to it, resulting in a free-flowing musical environment that, as well as feeling like a series of songs, creates a world you inhabit.

In short, At Home is Dog Unit’s first major statement. That statement may be wordless, but it’s also sonically and conceptually articulate: here are four friends and native Londoners making an album in their home city that’s custom-built to feel enveloping, warm and transporting as listeners wend their way through its running order. Put simply, with this debut record of all-encompassing world-building, Dog Unit are inviting you to lap up those tunes, bathe in those washes of sound, and yes, even revel in those pauses — ultimately, they want you to feel At Home.

Support TBA 

18+ 




    Venue

    Hope & Ruin
    11-12 Queens Rd, Brighton and Hove, Brighton BN1 3WA, UK