Bark Your Head Off, Dog

Hop Along - Bark Your Head Off, Dog
Critic Score
Based on 20 reviews
2018 Ratings: #215 / 794
Year End Rank: #43
User Score
Based on 369 ratings
2018 Ratings: #151
Liked by 3 people
April 6, 2018 / Release Date
LP / Format
Saddle Creek / Label
Indie Rock / Genres
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Quinlan remains one of the genre's best storytellers, and Bark Your Head Off, Dog's songs retain that richly textual feel. As a reaction the album as a whole, I might be inclined to believe that this is obscured by comparisons to its predecessor, the similarly excellent Painted Shut, which capably tread on some pretty dark reflections of the everyday. Yet, in the case of this new record, the loftier and more upbeat composition says enough. This album has an attitude all its own.


Hop Along are the kind of band whose records inspire fierce loyalty and foster deep personal connection, which makes Bark Your Head Off seem like a gamble, given its broader palette. It only takes a few listens to realize that it is really the fulfillment of the band's potential, though. You could have said it after pretty much any of their previous releases, but once again, Hop Along are truly a band at the top of their game.

Drowned in Sound

Stepping away from the noise and taking an evermore artful approach to heartfelt pop is a bold, brilliantly smart move and on Bark Your Head Off, Dog the results are borderline magical.

Northern Transmissions
Introducing strings, electronics and a whole range of new sonic experiences into their voice, the band manages to avoid simple novelty by finding interesting ways to use each new idea. Though it’s not totally breaking new ground, for Hop Along this is an amazing step in a new direction for them as a band.

Bark Your Head Off, Dog is a form of choral story-telling, punctuated by internal variations and thorough carving of details.

The Skinny

Bark Your Head Off, Dog is another great Hop Along album, intimate and grand in a way only few can do.


While something is almost always askew, on average, the album feels a little broader and brighter than Painted Shut. Thankfully, it does so without sacrificing lyrical impact or smoothing out Hop Along's distinctive, compelling sound.


The album as a whole feels warmer, more spacious. The songs on Painted Shut were doled out like 10 fist-shaped car door dents, but Bark Your Head Off, Dog moves at an agitated hum.

While ‘Painted Shut’ saw Hop Along forcefully establish themselves as a band to be reckoned with, LP3 shows they’re just as enticing and attention-grabbing when practicing restraint.
God Is in the TV
There’s an uplifting power ... in the energetic nature of how liberating these songs feel. It’s as if there has been something pleasantly epiphanic in writing them and cathartic in recording them. What is doubly satisfying is that both of those enlightening feelings can be shared by the listener.
The Needle Drop

Hop Along's song structures and storytelling mature on Bark Your Head Off, Dog.

Spectrum Culture

At first blush, Bark Your Head Off, Dog sounds like a wild left turn from Hop Along. On closer inspection, it seems that the band is finally catching up to its frontwoman.

The Line of Best Fit

An album both more mature and more realised than anything Hop Along have realised previously, Bark Your Head Off, Dog is a deft balance of quiet, folky meanderings and rousing slabs of indie rock, the two combining in to an amalgam that on paper, shouldn’t really work, but in practice cements Hop Along as far more than another quirky indie pop band, and elevates them in to another realm entirely.

Under The Radar
Everything about the Philadelphia quartet's sound on their latest record sounds more accomplished, but also more polished, which takes a little from what made Hop Along such an exciting prospect on previous songs such as "The Knock."
The 405
It might not be what we expected from Hop Along given their previous two albums, but now they’ve proven that they can make this kind of grandiose folk-inflected pop-punk, we hope to hear them swinging for the fences again next time out.
No Ripcord

It makes for a sometimes confounding if indecisive listen, but Quinlan's passionate eye for detail hasn't withered in the slightest.

A.V. Club

If Bark Your Head Off, Dog is a more agreeable and poppy endeavor, it sacrifices some passion in the bargain.


‘Bark Your Head Off, Dog’ moves Hop Along forward in a bold new direction, throwing up confident and striking arrangements along the way. To do so, however, it meant trading in the stripped back soul and raw emotion of their previous output.

Painted Shut was an urgent, insistent record with great ambitions not quite realized, but Bark Your Head Off, Dog is a huge step forward for a band that sounds tighter and more connected than ever. Frances Quinlan is a treasure. "Not Abel" is an instant classic, whose musical god-parents are Kristin Hersh and Jeff Mangum. what an incredibly brilliant song on every level.
The folk sound of their last album is an interesting change of pace, but the great tracks that you will come back to listen from this project are certain and obvious.

Highlights: "How Simple", "Not Abel"
The inimitable voice of Frances Quinlan takes Hop Along to as good a space as they've ever been. Insanely and irritatingly good.
BYHO,D is more refined than what the band already did but isn't as powerful as Painted Shut
favorite tracks:
- how simple
- what the writer meant
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Track List

  1. How Simple
  2. Somewhere a Judge
  3. How You Got Your Limp
  4. Not Abel
  5. The Fox in Motion
  6. One That Suits Me
  7. What the Writer Meant
  8. Look of Love
  9. Prior Things
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Added on: January 22, 2018