Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Oliver: The Blofelds - The Dog is Dead (10 November 1991)

It's the sound of 1981 in 1991!
This marvellous tune from the cross UK four piece brings to mind the sounds of bands who ruled the Peel show playlist a decade earlier.  Post punk marvels like Orange Juice, Jozef K, The Subway Sect and others whose "skinny guitar" tunes were not cut from muscular riffs of rock the shape of Marshall stacks in luxury studios but instead were cut in garden sheds in such a way that you could hear the plectrums scraping over the strings as strikingly plangent riffs were chocked out.  The basses still sounded like they were being recorded on a single amp over the producer's shoulder and the drums were tucked behind makeshift baffles so thick, it meant they could only be picked up the singer's microphone.  And through it all came tales of everyday woe and poetry; year 11 poetry but poetry nonetheless about broken relationships, miscommunication and all round hopelessness.
The Dog is Dead has all that in spades and I love it for it.  How ironic that two of my Festive 50 contenders should follow one another in quick succession.  When he played this, Peel read a spoof press release from the band claiming the title of the song came about when the bassist's dog, Voluptua  had died during recording it.  Peel claimed that in the late 60s/early 70s he used to write "fantastically sexist pieces for Sounds Magazine" about an imaginary woman called  Voluptua and this may be what inspired him to play the record.

The excellent blog, Cloudberry Cake Proselytism has an interview with Blofelds singer and guitarist, John Hodgson including a link to their SoundCloud page.

Video courtesy of Doc Cortex.


  1. Hi David, really nice to stumble across your excellent review, you seem to have got us completely, and the recording of this song was pretty much as you imagined - it was done in a prefab in someone's back garden in Camden.
    It was brilliant to be played by John Peel - a real highlight for us that someone we liked and respected chose to play our record. Thanks for the review, your blog is great :-) Cheers John (out of The Blofelds)

  2. Hi John. Thanks for getting in touch and for your nice comments. Above all, thank you and your bandmates for The Dog Is Dead. I was delighted to hear John play it again on 12 January 1992, before he launched into an appallingly constructed interview with Lesley Rankine of Silverfish.

    I told my wife that you had been in touch and played her the track. She's been singing the title line periodically ever since :)

    Take care and if you haven't seen this already, I hope it will make you smile:

    Best wishes