Dogme 95

The Reagle Beagle (Empyrean Records)

What an odd yet adventuresome fellow this Nick Wright, a.k.a. Dogme 95, appears to be. Although the music that graces The Reagle Beagle and last year's companion piece, Arcadian Hymns, is the lowest of lo-fi, even downright primitive in places, Wright's current concept — a fictionalized voyage with social scientist Charles Darwin on the H.M.S. Beagle during his journey of discovery — flirts with grand ambition. Still, Dogme 95's scrappy, ragtag style effectively blurs any attempt at narrative continuity; the title track and "McMillan the Villain" are little more than tribal chants, while the majority of the other offerings come across as strumming shuffles and simple sing-alongs. Even that's still a generous description; Dogme's dogma finds Wright and company repeating the same refrain ("Survival survival of the fittest/Survival survival of the fittest"), effectively belying the deeper meanings. The final entry in this choppy eight-song set, "Bring Back Pangaea," attempts to muster some momentum, but the anemic effort leaves the impression it's running on only half its cylinders. Weird, wacky, and completely askew, this Reagle Beagle is a different kind of animal entirely.

 
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