Seattle-based band Sundogs, led by Stan Snow and Jed Moffitt, infuses the spirit of jazz and rock in their new album The Code. From its brief breakneck opener “I Want It Now” to midtempo “Mystery Car,” the band introduces us to their edgy yet classic style to deliver an equal dose of rush and hush. While “Mystery Car” feels jazzier, the following anthem “Comin’ Back Home” has a rockier polish to it and showcases Sundogs’ playfulness to surprise its listeners by throwing an unexpected piano solo halfway through the song – a pleasant surprise we wouldn’t expect while rocking our heads.
“Pick It Up” feels like an anthem that captures the Millennial ADD – “Are you paying attention? / To the light on the right of the screen.” The laidback interplay between the piano keys and guitar strings capture the generational sparsed attention that seem to dominate our current culture. ”In The Night Of The Light” uses two opposing imageries of darkness and light to nestle us into that serene moment of the night where we get to free ourselves from distractions and see things clearly.
In “Ride,” Sundogs send a politically-charged message as they make various cultural and historical references. “All the children are banned / It’s getting out of hand / As Pancho Villa and the rebels ride toward the western sun.” There is a sun-kissed vibe to the track as they take their time to address the tension between two countries. Again, Sundogs take a rockier approach in “Hard Life,” an upbeat melodic treat characterized by stomping riffs that radiate the tough lesson of learning that the grass isn’t greener on the other side as we all seem to idealize. “It aint’ nothing but a hard life / I keep searchin’ for a fine line.”
“Jennifer” is probably the love song for every math nerd out there – it’s filled with starry-eyed imageries of yearning accompanied by lyrics such as “Predictive informatics, smart machines, and other gods” where the band ruminates on the probability of Jennifer coming back. Perhaps the most youthful moment of the album arrives at “The Code,” a bouncy piece where Sundogs remind us to hold onto our dreams despite the challenges out there. “There’s a code, to make the ends meet / Hold tight to your horizon / Give it time, Don’t lose faith” chant Sundogs.
The following track, “Freedom,” is a groovy piece that feels extremely appropriate for the era we’re living in right now. From racial to gun issues, “Freedom” is a track that reminds the listener “to keep it strong.” In “Angus,” Sundogs embark on the never-ending journey of seeking – whether that is someone, a dream, a song, etc. In the final song, “Balloon,” Sundogs nestle us into the mindset of a child going to a carnival. But it serves as a symbolic illustration of holding onto our dreams as adults. “Please don’t pop my balloon / It took so long to fill it with popcorn dreams.” Leaving us with a final message of hope, The Code is an album that nudges us to dream like children and face obstacles as adults.