Unlearn – Doghouse Rose
Doghouse Rose is a four-piece skatepunk band out of Toronto, and Unlearn is their sophomore album. The band’s first album was released during the pandemic, but managed to get some attention despite that uphill battle.
Listening to Doghouse Rose is fun, that’s what hits me on the first track. Fast paced punk with pop-punk and skatepunk influences, reminiscent of 90’s punkbands out of the west of the US. From the first track I was a bit worried that this was going to be a bit superficial though. But the lyrics towards the more shallow end of the pool are few and pretty far between, only a couple on the album as a whole. Then there’s the more introspective side of the band which I appreciate a lot more.
In songs like Fragments, It Is What It Is, Six Stray Hairs and These 4 Walls the lyrics go deeper, while still keeping the catchiness in the music, a combo I tend to appreciate. Dealing with the pains of growing up, facing ones shortcomings while navigating an unstable world, but also celebrating and finding those moments of joy where you can laugh along the way. There are quite a few well written songs on this album, and the voice of Sarah fits quite nicely with the musical style and the lyrics. Oftentimes on the slightly softer side but there is an edge that is being brought forward in some places, a little bit reminiscent of Brody in the Distillers.
This is a band that knows how to write and play good songs, mixing pop-punk, emo and skatepunk on the album. There’s no denying that Doghouse Rose knows their genre and are trying to put their own twist on it, but I still miss a little bit of a unique identity at times though, there is that small feeling that it’s been heard before. The band could have roughed it up a bit more in some more places to create a more dynamic listen throughout, but that’s my personal preferences speaking.
As a whole this leaves me with a good, positive and energized feeling, and the album is a good ride. There’s barely any fillers or songs that I tend to skip during the listening sessions. If you like pop-punk like it sounded at the end of the ’90s, Doghouse Rose has got you covered on Unlearn.
The album is being released June 30th both on streaming and physically through Stomp Records.