One of my 23 For 2023, Dogs At Large are a Chicago-based collective built around the songwriting of Sam Pirruccello. The band first appeared back in 2015 with their debut album, Please Refrain, and have gone on to release a further five albums the most recent of which was 2020’s home-recorded ode to a guitar, My Epiphone. For his upcoming album, County Line, Sam took a somewhat unusual approach, recording the record in two sessions with two separate backing bands, with one half harnessing pedal steel and violin to create moments of pastoral beauty, and the other leaning into louder and more energetic influences. Ahead of the album’s release at the start of March, today they’re premiering Vogue Beauty, a track that falls squarely into the latter camp.
When a songwriter describes their new single as, “one of the dumbest songs I’ve ever written”, you might not have particularly high hopes. Thankfully in describing Vogue Beauty, Sam Pirruccello more promisingly notes, “it’s also one of my favourites”. While noting he doesn’t really know where the idea came from, the track introduces us to, “two fashion enthusiasts who fall in love and serve as each other’s muses”, as he further explains, “they model each other’s clothes, comb through boutiques and thrift stores and enjoy a posh jet-setting lifestyle together”.
The track’s themes are mirrored in the musical accompaniment, which Sam describes as, “a coked-out glam rock vibe”, taking inspiration from Start Me Up by The Rolling Stones. The track begins with a warm, almost genteel Rhodes-like keyboard reminiscent of The Lemon Twigs, before Dogs At Large start up the band and the whole thing goes into fabulous excess. The drums clatter into earshot, before being joined by a bombastic guitar-riff, equal parts Television and The Yardbirds. Plus there’s plenty of cowbell, the band recalling it has to be added, “before the song felt like it was complete”. So yes, it might be a little bit dumb, yet Vogue Beauty is also thoroughly exciting, a reminder of the versatility and energy Dogs At Large bring into everything they do and the potential County Line has to be one of the year’s finest records.
County Line is out March 2nd. For more information on https://linktr.ee/dogsatlarge.