Local music: Cadaver Dogs

  • Photo by Jodi Miller
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From the November 24, 2011 edition

Cadaver Dogs make no bones about their modus operandi.

“I am rock ’n’ roll!” singer-guitarist Mat Franklin boldly proclaims about a minute into the Columbus trio’s “On All Fours” EP. The four-song set proceeds to carry that tone with monster riffs, top-of-their-lungs hooks and ribcage-busting drums. Loud, lewd and debaucherous, theirs is party music for rock ’n’ roll animals.

It’s also more inventive and infectious than your average riff rock, which is why Franklin, drummer Lex Vegas and bassist Cole Walsh-Davis decided to focus on this project instead of their original gig together, Look Afraid.

“It started off as a side thing,” Vegas said. “Then it turned out we were f---ing awesome.”

No one would call this progressive music. (Sample lyric: “If your b----’s legs are parting like the f---ing Red Sea/ Then you can blame it on her, but it’s you who don’t know how to please.”) But there’s a subtle artfulness to the way the songs on “On All Fours” bleed together.

Furthermore, against expectation, the Dogs are “very DIY, in the most sexy way,” Franklin said. They screen-printed their own album covers and even built the lighting rig from their video for “The Change Up,” a gratuitous celebration of rock cliche.

“Just because rock ’n’ roll is dead doesn’t mean you can’t dance with its ghost,” Franklin said, “or have sex with its rotting corpse.”

They tour more often than they perform in Columbus — and they’ll travel coast-to-coast with a major label band next year — but they are appearing Friday at Circus. Expect a spectacle.

“I always want to be a band,” Franklin said, “where someone’s like, ‘Oh hey, did you see the Cadaver Dogs?’ and the other person’s response is either, ‘F--- yeah!’ or they didn’t see us.”