Doghouse Rose – The Harder They Fall

  • Cole Faulkner posted
  • Reviews

Doghouse Rose

The Harder They Fall - STOMP Records

Toronto newcomers Doghouse Rose join the Stomp Records family for the release of their debut full length, The Harder They Fall.  The punk-rock quartet first got its start as a western-psychobilly inspired punk rock act sometime around 2014, but has since gravitated mostly towards the punk rock end of the spectrum.  The band’s melodic disposition now makes comparisons better suited to a middle ground somewhere between the rough and poppy zest of The Bombpops and energizing upright thumping of The CreepshowThe Harder They Fall marks somewhat of a relaunch for the band, featuring eleven tracks that make firm Doghouse Rose’s intent.

If you’re a fan of female fronted pop-punk with teeth, then Doghouse Rose will make for an instant impression.  From the get go, it’s abundantly clear that front woman Sarah Mathieson has what it takes to carry and elevate the band to lofty heights.  Opener “Run 666” makes no hesitation in hitting the ground running with a roaring tempo and no holds barred attitude.  With steady riffs and lush melodic backing vocals, the track runs at a breakneck pace that delivers on the band’s feisty potential.  “The Rose” channels a similar level of energy, entering a full on sprint to the finish, propelled by a gang vocal bolstered chorus in which the band reminds listeners of life’s many deceptions in the passage, “by the thorns of the rose, we all live and die.”  The balance of speed, aggression and melody further barrels down the tracks on “Misery Train,” existing at the intersection of ambition and precision.  

On the other side of the spectrum, The Harder They Fall includes a solid array of poppy, feelgood punk tunes.  Tracks like “Not Ready” are playful in their jubilant rejection of the pressures of adulthood, celebrating whimsically in the chorus, “But I’m not ready to grow up, Not willing to say goodbye to the things I love … ‘cause choosing means losing, every other choice.”  Others like “Last Time” offer a more relaxed, care-free vibe, like something from The Bombpops’ more casual offerings, while maintaining an astute lyrical undergirding.  

The album closes with a strong dose of optimism, summing up the blend of resilience and enthusiasm that Doghouse Rose embodies in “When I Fall.”  “When I fall, I get up again, when I fight, I’m gonna win,” belts Mathieson with the type of confidence that inspires and commands the room.  The song roars along unapologetically under the infectious thumping of the band’s upright bassist Jefferson Sheppard.  Sheppard is a force to be reckoned with, with a sense of speed and precision that differentiates the band from the bulk of their punk rock brethren.  The use of the upright bass is subtle overall, but serves as a skilled reminder of the band’s alt-country origins and gives a springboard for future creative songwriting.  

All in all, Doghouse Rose has relaunched stronger than ever, releasing a killer debut full-length that should satisfy a wide audience.  The subtle country twang, stealthy upright bass work, poppy punked-up melodies and general feel-good vibe make for a tight mission statement.  While the album leaves room for stylistic expansion (I’d love to see the band wholeheartedly commit to their country flare for a track or two), The Harder They Fall is foundationally sound and accessible in the best of ways.  If you’re a fan of quality punk rock, don’t let The Harder They Fall pass you by.