Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home.

music Home > Record Reviews

Know Your Product

More Dogs: Never Let Them Catch You Crying

More Dogs: Never Let Them Catch You Crying

Release Date:2005
More info on local act

More Dogs

More Dogs plays the Reverent Fog Festival Sept. 10. For more information visit

By Bret McCabe | Posted 9/7/2005

The problem of being one of the best live bands in town is that it raises expectation levels for the albums—witness More Dogs, the local trio of genre-straddling multi-instrumentalists Stephen Santillan, Emmanuel Nicolaidis, and Michael Bouyoucas. Onstage these three rotate through guitar, bass, vibes, organ, percussion, and a whole grab bag of whistles, wood blocks, and noisemakers like a three-ring circus act, ratcheting up the adrenaline levels of its low-key instrumentals to Greek-wedding fever pitch. On album, a song’s first kiss barely grazes the skin, and you wonder how this could be the same band that got the blood racing so.

Fear not, for More Dogs’ under-30-minute sophomore release, Never Let Them Catch You Crying, isn’t a solemn drag. In fact, Never sounds like a giggly product from an impish cadre of runaway carnies. Almost every one of the seven tracks is built around a carousel of rising and falling organ, guitar, or vibe notes peppered with an indecisive percussion rumble. These initial motifs are anxiously inchoate, as if the band showed up to play an event and wasn’t sure if it was a funeral, party, dance, score to a silent movie, or merely background wallpaper, and are judging faces at first to see if they’re on the right track. And once they do determine what mood they’re going for, all three give in to it with jocose brio. The tentative opening organ of “Duty. Duty? Duty.” becomes an assured Phantom of the Opera haunt orbited by sneaky guitar and xylophone shadows. “Teenage Bunker” explodes into a jittery wood-block snap, drum roll, and whistle double-time, like theme music to a Keystone Cops chase. And “Overeater Under Water” inches along at a struggled clip of guitar and drums that transforms into a rickety racket before finding a groove at full gallop, the sound of a fish growing legs and learning to run. More Dogs live and on album can feel like two very distinct beasts, but each one makes music like ornate shadow boxes, blithely ignorant to everything in its musical surroundings.

E-mail Bret McCabe

Comments powered by Disqus
CP on Facebook
CP on Twitter