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Album Review: You Ate My Dog - Like Torches

There is a strong line of argument that says no music is original anymore, as everything has been done before, and so when a new band do build a new genre they should rightfully be covered in praise. However, one down side of searching for something truly original, can be that you fail and end up creating a horrible mutant of every bad thing that’s ever been recorded. Sweden’s You Ate My Dog aren’t quite that bad, but after a few listens of debut album ‘Like Torches’, you can’t help but feel they would be better off settling on a sound.

‘Like Torches’ starts off as a post-hardcore album. The first two tracks almost work as one, utilising soaring guitar riffs, melodic clean vocals and well-timed screams, to create tracks that could easily compete with their American counterparts. ‘Pretty Lights’ in particular stands out as an effective opener.

The band’s first single, ‘Still Lost’, is where the first signs of the bands genre confusion start to creep in. It opens like an Owl City song, slowly mutating into All Time Low, but with a more rabid feel (due to the intermittent screams throughout). From this point on the band’s sound hops around like there’s no tomorrow, although admittedly within a broad pop punk spectrum. They move from sounding like a European A Day To Remember, who have replaced the beatdowns with synth on ‘Spin The Bottle’; to latter day Blink-182 on ‘Caffeine And Sleeping Pills’ and ‘Skeleton Crew’; to an almost Busted-like sound on ‘We Burn Like The Phoenix’.

There are also some cringe-worthy moments on the album. The pride that comes across in the band’s press release about the decision to use more spoken word on the album is, at best, misplaced. As a result of the use of spoken word; ‘Hospital’ is transformed from a mediocre easycore track to a bad ode to Nu-Metal. Likewise, there are some choruses that suffer from being a little too cheesy. The chorus on ‘Spin The Bottle’ is the main example, with the euro-pop influences seeping through a little too heavily. The band are summed up perfectly by closing track ‘Save The Last Bullet’, which manages to encompass acoustic guitar, some fuzzy lo-fi, full band pop punk, a bit of a beatdown and some gang vocals all in one track!

‘Like Torches’ does have its moments though and as with so many debut albums, there are a strong EP’s worth of songs here. The band are undoubtedly talented, and although their willingness to challenge boundaries should be commended, you can’t help but think You Ate My Dog would be better off settling on one sound.


‘Like Torches’ by You Ate My Dog is available now through Snapping Fingers Snapping Necks.

Official Website
You Ate My Dog on MySpace and Facebook.

Dan Issitt

Alter The Press!