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What Are We Fighting For
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  • The second album Dodgy released after reuniting in 2008, 2016's What Are We Fighting For may not be as defiant or despairing as the title suggests, yet it definitely shows a sense of assurance that befits a band settling into its skin. Dodgy don't expand their horizons -- most of the jangle and roar heard here could've been originally essayed in the '90s -- but they're digging deeper, spending more time on their songcraft along with the production. Substituting abandon for polish does mean this isn't as kinetic as their earliest hits but it's also good that they're not striving for a false sense of youth. Now firmly in middle age, they're reflective craftsman, capable of sly allusions -- the Luther Perkins single-note riffs on the intro of "Mended Heart" are a neat way to expand the scope of a popular song -- while also angling toward epics like the concluding title track. If everything feels a little bit on an even keel, blame it on that sense of craft as well: they're good enough to be clever and also good enough to wander into the middlebrow without intending to do so. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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