These songs pick up on the drama of the ordinary, the lyrics capture the life-changing...
Derryck Strachan 2003
It comes as no surprise that Songdog's lead vocalist and songwriter Lyndon Morgans is an award-winning playwright - his songs pick up on the drama of the ordinary, his lyrics capture the life-changing moments among the apparently mundane.
Morgans and guitarist Karl Woodward both hail from Blackwood, South Wales; along with multi-instrumentalist Dave Paterson, the third member of Songdog. They earned favourable comparisons to Dylan, Jacques Brel and the Beat poets with their 2001 debut album The Way Of The World.
Support slots over the last couple of years with The Handsome Family and Johnny Dowd give some idea of their current musical affiliations. Yet they're more subtle (and less country) than either, leaning more toward the wind-blown folk of Belle & Sebastian or the cathartic melodies of Tom McRae.
Morgans' vocals breathe life into the situations he creates - it's almost as if Feargal Sharkey or John Anderson was singing Leonard Cohen, that same breathy rush in the voice that adds a passionate urgency to his lyrics.
Haiku, meaning a Japanese verse of three short, unrhymed lines, is an entirely appropriate title for Songdog's second album. They capture profound ideas in a very small space, affecting stories sitting against minimal, delicately formed musical backdrops. The words don't rhyme either.
"She's queuing at the checkout to pay for some DVD" he observes in "The Girl On The Escalator At HMV"; "There's this girl who likes me, looks like the singer in Destiny's Child" he notes in "Hat-Check Girl". Somehow the real world of Burger King, full-size Lara Croft cut outs, and men from Milton Keynes is given a sheen of glamour in this poetic setting.
Seen out of context such references might seem trite yet Songdog manage to evoke the warm-blooded reality in these scenes; romance, sex, death - there are big subjects lurking within these skewed snapshots of everyday life.