Being described by someone as well-regarded like Ariel Pink as being a “white-thug Everlast pushing Richard Ashcroft sheen” can put an artist under a lot of pressure; but it hasn’t affected Dog Orchestra if Pity Party is anything to go by.
You do pick up some of the Ashcroft influences in the lyrics, which have that understated personal and autobiographical feel to them. Additionally I hear echoes Bono and Robert Alfons in the way the vocals can switch from anthem to introversion on the turn of a phrase. But it’s the arrangement that really sets the song apart.
Is dark wave alt.country a thing? Even if it is, that doesn’t quite capture the unusual musical essence that lies at the heart of Pity Party. Besides some of the easy to spot references already mentioned, the track smoothly segues from synthpop to rock, along with a guitar lick or two that wouldn’t be amiss on a goth track, but the hooks are pure pop.
Pity Party is a pleasurable oddity, one for the pop fan but also for the person that eschews empty hooks and beats. And music nerds will have a lot of fun pinpointing the musical references as they take the listening on a tour of musical genres.