The Sheepdogs – Five Easy Pieces – EP

Released Date: August 2nd, 2011
By Evelyn Miska Krieger

For some listeners, the first introduction to the Canadian band The Sheepdogs may have come either from the pages of Rolling Stone or via one of the weekly challenges on Project Runway. While it is admirable that The Sheepdogs were selected by Rolling Stone readers as the best up-and-coming band as part of the “Do You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star” competition there isn’t much on their latest EP to explain just why they were selected as the best of the best for the contest. Sure, their sound is a clear nod to rock and roll of the 1970s and there is something nostalgic about that style, but there also isn’t much on Five Easy Pieces to propel their notoriety any further.

Five Easy Pieces is an adequate title for an EP that doesn’t show much stretch or ingenuity. The band sticks to the formula that they enjoy, but shows little variation in the mix. Many of the songs are sparse on lyrics with the same lines being repeated to the point of distraction. Those who were introduced to the band because of Project Runway may recognize “Who?” but even if you’ve only heard a few clips from the show, that’s almost all you may need. Although lead singer Ewan Currie brings out the soul on the lyrics, those are in short supply and the chorus, which is simply, “who, who, who do you belong to” is repeated so often that it almost is as if the song got stuck.

“The Middle Road” is the only track that deviates from the tried and true formula on the other four songs and it’s more soft-rock approach does add some variety to the EP. What’s nice is it shows that The Sheepdogs are capable of more, but at the same time it’s frustrating because the collection could have been so much more as is proved by this song. “How Late, How Long” shows some good soul and about halfway through there’s a nice instrumental section that allows both Currie and Leot Hanson a chance to show off their guitar skills. However, like most of their songs, The Sheepdogs seem to almost get stuck in what seems like a never-ending loop of the chorus. “I Don’t Know” is the most significant victim of this fault, to the point where the song can become almost mind-numbing to listen to.

It isn’t that The Sheepdogs lack talent and they certainly have mastered some major aspects of the American publicity machine, but they’re going to have to do more than show up on an episode of Project Runway and model clothes if they want to sell records. While music definitely isn’t only about writing lyrics, that might be something worth spending a little extra time on for their next songs in order to keep listeners interested and not thinking they’ve been caught in the musical equivalent of Groundhog Day.


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