Based in Seattle, classic-rock/jazz/fusion outfit Sundogs recently dropped their third album, entitled The Code, recorded at Magellan Studios in Seattle.
The core of Sundogs is made up of Stan Snow and Jed Moffit, along with beaucoup help from talented musicians like Alan White, Ben Smith, Mike Stone, Jazmin Candia, Eric Patterson, Javier Gonzalez, and the engineering, mixing, and mastering skills of Don Gunn.
Sundog’s genesis took place in Fremont, California, where Snow and Moffitt grew up listening to Miles Davis, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Tom Petty, Steely Dan, Randy Newman, Leonard Cohen, Jackson Browne, Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan, and The Who.
Stan Snow’s guitar playing has been shaped by a number of guitarists, including Robben Ford, Larry Carlton, Michael Hedges, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Pat Metheny, Steve Morse, Lee Ritenour, Steve Howe, Carlos Santana, Chuck Berry, BB King, and Eric Clapton.
On his part, Jed Moffitt’s keyboard playing has been influenced by Bill Evans, Bruce Hornsby, Keith Jarrett, McCoy Tyner, Oscar Peterson, Lyle Mays, Bud Powell, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Brad Mehldau, Larry Goldings, Benmont Tench, and Roy Bittan.
According to the two artists, they write music pleasing to them. “If it sounds good to us and it’s something that we like listening to over and over, that is the driving force in how we write, arrange, produce, and record. We are doing it for the pure joy of it.”
Featuring 12-tracks, The Code begins with “I Want It Now,” opening on a Who-like melody reminiscent of Quadrophenia. Blazing guitars and a resonant, sparkling piano fill the tune with layers of surging color and energy.
Entry points include “Pick It Up,” which conjures up delicious memories of Leonard Cohen, with its cool jazz-flavored/piano-rock tones on top of avant-garde-embellished rhythmic pulses. “In The Night of The Light” blends sparkling colors from Steely Dan with hints of Jackson Browne, but the song offers innovative originality all its own. This track is a personal favorite because of its scrumptious flow and undulating textures.
Another excellent track is the title track, exuding gleaming, low-slung tinges of piano-rock, along with tints of Steely Dan. The guitar work on this song is superb, demonstrating Snow’s virtuosity at producing diamond licks.
On The Code, Sundogs generate elusively familiar harmonics forming earworms listeners can’t resist, simply because they’re so alluring.