"Bark Your Head Off, Dog," Hop Along's third album, addresses disappointment, particularly in man's misuse of power, and the attempt to retreat from the lengthening shadows of tyrants, historical and everyday. Self-produced and recorded at The Headroom in Philadelphia, the album features the familiar sounds that have always made the band allergic to genre: grunge, folk, punk, and power pop, with inspiration from ELO to Elvis Costello to Built to Spill to ‘70s girl group vocal arrangements. This time around they have added strings, more intricate rhythms, lush harmonies (featuring Thin Lips’ Chrissy Tashjian), and even vocoder.
“So strange to be shaped by such strange men” is a line that repeats on more than one song on the album. “I’ve been thinking about that a lot. That I just deferred to men throughout my life,” lead singer Frances Quinlan says. “But by thinking you’re powerless, you’re really robbing yourself. I’m at a point in my life where I’m saying instead, ‘Well, what can I do?’”