The Dose – Saline

 So this one is a bit different from what you’d normally think is in my wheelhouse, but guess what? I’m a sucker for a good old-fashioned rock and roll record. In this case I’m talking about L.A.-based duo THE DOSE, and their debut album Saline (out now), featuring Indio Downey on guitars on vocals, and drummer Ralph Alexander, who also plays bass pedals a la RUSH’S Geddy Lee, whom he cites as a personal inspiration. And that’s a bit peculiar because the group’s sound is rooted firmly in 90’s grunge, but the good stuff, not that crap record execs flocked to sign when it turned into a fad. Downey’s voice is rather warm and inviting on some tracks, yet cold and distant on others, something that only adds to the appeal.

There are 12 songs in all and quite frankly not one of them is bad. Sure, some are better than others, but by and large you have a very good debut outing here. One of my favorites was “Thrill of It” for no other reason than it reminded me of a band I discovered in the summer of 1997, OUTHOUSE. I’m sure none of you remember them, but that year they released an album called Welcome that I can only describe as life-changing. And I totally hear their sound in this tune, so I love it! And right after this comes another favorite in “Escape”, a song I still can’t get enough of, and I’ve had this record for a minute.

“Gone” has all the makings of an alternative radio station hit some 20 years ago. Think Y100 here in Philly back in the day, and we probably would have heard this one a lot. Personally I’d love it to eventually be a hit in this day and age because it’s such a great song, and another winner in my book. The overall vibe of “Savor” made me think of Saturday nights at my old apartment complex in Media, PA that we all affectionately dubbed “Melrose,” since it was all young singles living there and we used to get together and party on that rooftop deck…a lot. We’d drink, we’d dance, and Scott would man the grill all night long. Wow, summer of 1996.

One last tune I wanna talk about is closer “Meant to Be.” It’s slower than the others, and it’s also rather melancholy, but it works on so many levels. I am very guilty of abusing my REPEAT button when songs hit me a certain way, and this one most certainly did. It’s beautiful, and that’s really all there is to say. So, when all is said and done I really, really enjoyed this debut album from THE DOSE. I think Saline wears its 90’s influences proudly on its sleeve while managing to sound fresh and vibrant in today’s musical climate. This is a record I can recommend without hesitation because I know you’re gonna love it like I do. So go check it out, willya?

STANDOUT TRACKS: “Meant to Be”, “Thrill of It”, “Escape”, “Gone”, “Savor”

RATING: 9/10

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