As the piano fades in, Karin Bergquist sums up the album by singing, “What a beautiful piece of heart ache this has all turned out to be.” The song “Latter Days” captures you with its sudden beauty within the first minute of Over the Rhine’s album Good Dog Bad Dog and fills you with an overwhelming warmth as her voice flows over the piano. An incredible voice mixed with the gorgeous instrumentation leads to possibly the greatest effort by any Christian music band. Over the Rhine, a band that has broken up since, established the fact that they were unique musicians with an incredibly listenable sound.
Your eyes stay closed as the second track, “All I Need is Everything,” blends into the emotion of the album and starts to set a tone that may cause you to dim the lights and lay back into a melancholy relaxation. A sigh is released as Bergquist’s words are wrapped in one of the greatest female voices your ears have ever been fortunate enough to hear.
“Etcetera Whatever” then brings you a closeness to the music with her melancholy voice singing over a single acoustic guitar. You actually miss her voice during the tranquil instrumentals “I Will Not Eat the Darkness” and “Willoughby,” but are then pleased as it returns strongly in songs such as “Faithfully Dangerous.”
However, you cannot disregard the thoughtful lyrics of Linford Detweiler who plays an equally important role in the group. He’s also the major portion of the instrumental talent found in Over the Rhine. His voice is featured on the track “Jack’s Valentine,” in which he sings a bluesy love tune. Unfortunately, the voice is quite a contrast to that of Karin, but that may be an unfair comparison.
Other songs on the album including “The Seahorse” and “Everyman’s Daughter” add strength to the record with emotionally-driven chords on the acoustic and test the boundaries of Karin’s voice. “A Gospel Number” gives her vocals a chance to experiment with a separate style that may be considered blues. Detweiler’s piano returns in the mournful “Happy To Be So” and ends accordingly with Bergquist’s hauntingly, captivating falsetto.
The album was completed about ten days after Over the Rhine left their recording company, but no justice was taken away from the final product. Inside of the album cover, there is a tale of the journey the band took to finish Good Dog Bad Dog. The album was produced by Linford, which doesn’t surprise one bit. The talent is pretty overwhelming throughout the record. A final note is added by Linford, “Quiet music should be played loud.”
Written by Nolan Shigley.