This album is a time warp. Or at least it desperately wants to be. And it takes just five seconds, and one yowl from Dogwater frontman Brendan Maier, to hear where the Chicago outfit are coming from. From mid-tempo maximum-grunge riffs to fuzzy melodies and sluggish solos, ‘Chout’ wants to drag you into 1994. That band name and even the cover art here, from photography to fonts, feel distinctly nineties too. In fact, this is so familiar in spots, and Maier’s vocals are so eerily reminiscent of late Alice in Chains talisman Layne Staley, that there’s no escaping the feeling it’s all an (admittedly accurate) impersonation. Things might be different if the songs here weren’t so damn average but the odd dose of satisfying metallic crunch aside, everything feels so flat, so lifeless. Karaoke.

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