Over The Rhine, Good Dog Bad Dog

Peter Blackstock

By Peter Blackstock

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Beguiling folk-pop soundscapes and an enchanting female vocalist.

Helmed by wife-and-husband duo Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler, Over the Rhine came of age in the mid-'90s as a sort of Ohioan kin to Pennsylvania's the Innocence Mission, in that both groups featured enchanting female vocalists operating inside beguiling folk-pop soundscapes. Good Dog Bad Dog, originally released independently in 1996 before receiving wider distribution in 2000 through Back Porch/Virgin, stands out as a high point in the band's nearly two-decade run. Two songs that were eliminated from the Virgin reissue, "A Gospel Number" (more funky than gospel-ish, musically) and "Jack's Valentine" (the latter featuring Detweiler's lone vocal lead), are restored here, and thus may be of special note to those who don't have the original release. But the tracks that linger longest are the ones that best exemplify Over the Rhine's identity: the opening "Latter Days," which balances Bergquist's haunting croon against Detweiler's stately piano chords; "All I Need Is Everything," which pushes forth with a subtle urgency driven by cello undercurrents; "The Seahorse," a simple acoustic strummer with a sweet, soaring melody; and "Go Down Easy," which closes the album with exquisite grace on the wings of understated steel guitar accents and the lovely lilt of Bergquist's voice.