(Half A Cow)
In Reg Mombassa's cosmos, Jesus sits him down and tells him to stop telling lies and to lead a good life. The big fella then tells the former Mental As Anything sex symbol that he is tired of saving the world, just wants to settle down and meet a nice girl, maybe clown around a little. He blames the early Christians for putting him on a pedestal. Reg and his brother Pete O'Doherty do a nice line in wacky and The Jesus Song is a good example, but sometimes you get the feeling that wacky might be a negative - something that obscures the integrity of these heart felt and beautifully crafted little songs. Dog Trumpet is the siblings and friends project turned main game now that they've both abandoned the Mentals and its a collaboration not to be underestimated. This self titled CD is a wonderful collection of songs lovingly formed and nostalgically classic little pieces of pop that are rich with a sweet 60's sensibility. Pete's Don't Wait Too Long is a melodic tour de force that wouldn't sound out of place on a Neil Finn record and is backed with some beautiful strings. It's the stand out song of the record. but every track is good. Reg's Akenhaten is musically fascinating, a mystic hillbilly ditty and The Gun Song is a bit of a Pete Seeger style crack at our dishonest Johnny. This is a great record, hard to slip into a niche, impossible to program on our stylistically constipated radio stations and almost inevitably destined to be ignored, but I got it and I'm laughin'.
By Peter Lalor, Daily Telegraph Thursday 11th April 2002
This is a nice low key and ultimately quite gentle collection from the two brothers who once graced the country's stages and guitarist and bass player with Mental as Anything now permanently Dog Trumpet. Each of them - Peter O'Doherty and the brother known as Reg Mombassa - contributes seven songs to the mix and individual styles, while complementary are very different. There's warmth and intimacy in Peter's This Waiting Game while there's the expected quirkiness in Reg's The Numbers. Peter's Slow Down contrasts Reg's Harrisonesque slide riffing with Lara Goodridge's pizzicato violin in a swirl of strings while 'blasphemy' has never been delivered with such understatement and simple humanity as in Reg's The Jesus Song. Monkey Tank is the closest you'll get to a Mentals kind of groove, yet delivered as it is by Reg's soft voice. It's totally Dog Trumpet despite the totally Mombassa guitar solo. I've no idea what the monkey fixation is all about or the song as a whole for that matter but its bops along nicely which I suppose is the point. Then again, what's with Akhenaten? Neat little tune but the connection between non pharaonic verse and pharaonic chorus is um, well tenuous. By hey, that's quirky for you! Ever the more eccentric Reg maintains the myth nicely here - just check out the well bent Gun Song. Then for something completely different there's The Flute Song - a nifty little instrumental excursion.
Meanwhile that trademark guitar sounds gives Pete's Red Roof Sunsets and Everything Looks The Same a bit of Mentals edge too, subverting the Beatles/Nilsson stylings. The McCartney influence comes through more clearly on Don't Wait Too Long complete with the sumptuous strings of three quarters of Four Play (Amanda Brown (Go Betweens/Cleopatra Wong) does the string arranging honours for the plaintive In the Morning musing on the late great Nick Drake. All up here's an album that doesn't change the world, just leaves you feeling it's capable of being quite a nice place, if a little odd.
Michael Smith, Drum Media 9th April, 2002
A labour of love from brothers and former Mental As Anything bandmates Peter O'Doherty and Reg Mombassa, Dog Trumpet's third album took four years to record. Now they've delivered, fans will appreciate that it's been worth the wait. It's an album that switches between wistful nostalgia, sadly pretty romance and quirky knees ups, always with a distinctly homemade, acoustic feel. The mood swings can probably be put down to the brothers' division of the writing credits. So O'Doherty sings of a rose-tinted childhood in suburbia on tracks like 'Red Roof Sunsets', then Mombassa sets a lyric about the sectioning of a mentally-ill relative against jaunty, jangling guitars on 'Monkey Tank'. The contrasts could have made for a messy album. They don't, because Dog Trumpet's main strength is the pair's ability to transfer that unspoken brotherly bond onto record. Like looking through the family album, Dog Trumpet is an intimate and revealing portrait of two menšs private world.
Ben Atherton, Time Off 16th April 2002