I Can't Fly
Mystery to Me
A self-described “album of songs culled from various locations and times, often of dubious fidelity,” Toothbrush represents the seedlings of a style this band would go on to develop over subsequent albums. Not quite demos and not quite finished work, the mostly-acoustic music on Toothbrush is a patchwork of early ideas and oddities, but even in this immature state Dr. Dog possessed the charm that would make them a success later on. The band had not yet moved on from doing outright Lennon imitations (“Mystery To Me”), and they were still experimenting with a few styles they would later leave behind, including the sneering blues of ”How Dare” and the country folk of “County Line.” But there are also the elements that have stayed with Dr. Dog since the beginning: the penchant for cheeky doo-wop harmonies, the slow and steady pacing, the pleading love songs, and the youthful sense of humor. Even when the sketches on Toothbrush are striking enough to make you wish Dr. Dog would record full band versions (“Jealous Man,” “Heaven”), it’s easy to appreciate the sentiment. This is a band that has always worn its homespun heart on its sleeve, and Toothbrush makes clear that Dr. Dog were never more cheerful or content than when they were making music on a basement boombox.