Astringent, atonal guitars, off-key harmonies, squealed screechy vocals, a style of playing that could at best be described as 'optimistic', clothes sense very charity store but nothing fancy like The Long Blondes... really, it needs no qualification. Anti-rock. Anti-stadium. Anti-commercial. Anti-glamour. Just plain anti-. Bette Davis & The Balconettes. Lungleg. Huggy Bear.
It's what was called C86 a generation earlier by the selfsame people who conveniently forget now that there was always an edge to the 'amateurism'; that something very dark lurked behind the polka dots and sandals. The knowledge that you're fucked before you even try so you might as well start competing on your terms, no-one else's, cos otherwise you really are going to suffer.
Three ice-cool females - Rivka on vocal squalls and minimalist guitar, Sophie with her cropped hair and intimidating, fancy bass, Sarah with her decadent cheekbones and single-minded drum beat - bashing out 20-minute sets that aren't scared to let their songs breathe, that figure it's better to make people feel uneasy than content, that recall the passions of my late teens. Sure it recalls The Raincoats - but where's the violin? Also, The Birthday Party - it must be the bass, and scratchy guitar - and Devo, the WASP synthesizer-bashings of late Seventies punk-y upstarts pragVEC (but where's the keyboard?)... (Of course, all these references merely prove are the age of the writer, not the sound of the music, but shh. Don't let everyone know.)
The songs I can't deconstruct, but I know with certitude it's the sort of music you write when you can't be arsed sitting around trying to figure out some lame-ass cover version. 'Tidy Up Your Bedroom' with its harmonies to die for - fucking die for, I said. 'New Partee', misspelled but still brimful of indignation. The agoraphobic and bruised ''Dirty Outside'; the ridiculously mischievous 'Goat In The Garden'; the mysterious 'Magnet Face'... All of these - and more - are songs so full of care and riot and imagination, it hurts even to type their titles. Sarah drums like it's the first time she's played her kit; but in a good way. 'Shit Day' floats and stings like former prize-fighter Screamin' Jay Hawkins given half a pad of blusher.
I once saw The Pipettes described as the 'ultimate Everett True wank-fest'. Leaving my private fantasies out of this - and you really don't want to go there, trust me - it's blindingly clear that Wet Dog are far closer to that description.
'Why I like Wetdog'
by Everett True, aged 47.
Everett True is editor-in-chief for Plan B magazine, and has written for NME, Melody Maker, as well as several books, including ones on The Ramones, The White Stripes and his latest, a definitive account of Nirvana.