Dogs Die In Hot Cars
Sunday April 17
Doug Fir Lounge,
830 E Burnside

I DID NOT invent the phrase "Scotpop," though I wish I had. However, as so many exciting bands have recently emerged from the home of the Loch Ness Monster, Sean Connery, and Franz Ferdinand, this moniker is both a convenient and more culturally sensitive substitute for the Highlanders emergence in the wake of Britpop. And where the latter became synonymous with bloated egos, bloody noses, and progressively crappier records, Scotpop (for the time being at least) is succeeding on clever songwriting, modesty, and infinite ADORABLENESS.

Dogs Die In Hot Cars is the latest, greatest, hyped-up import, but please--PLEASE--don't let that dissuade you from enjoying this band. Craig Macintosh, DDIHC's singer and primary songwriter, pens smart, quirky pop songs, brimming with an observational wit reminiscent of Jarvis Cocker at his best. Though the band's not-so-New-Wave sound often draws comparisons to soul revivalists Dexy's Midnight Runners, the magnificently buoyant singles "Godhopping" and "Man Bites Man" owe a large debt to the ornate pop of Roxy Music, albeit without the overt cheese-dick factor of Brian Ferry.

Despite all the well-deserved accolades heaped upon DDIHC by the UK press, Macintosh and company seem remarkably aware of their humble origins and impending, yet tenuous, status as celebrities. On "Celebrity Sanctum," they sing wistfully about Lucy Liu, Angelina Jolie, and Catherine Zeta-Jones, while at the same time feeling uncomfortable with their own objectification. It's this ability to be both immersed in a story, and capable of seeing it from multiple angles that elevates Macintosh as a songwriter. As he sings on "Man Bites Man," a deliberately ambiguous phrase that can both relate to his everyman appeal and his various narrative approaches, "I am everyone." While Macintosh may "wish to have Paul Newman's eyes," he seems content documenting the multifaceted world he sees through his own.

That DDIHC can create such ambitious music without the usual trappings of rockstardom makes them all the more loveable. Their seemingly unlimited arsenal of memorable melodies and hooks, coupled with the incorporation of insightful, witty narratives, makes DDIHC more than just a good time--it makes them a great time.