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Stray Dogs - Album Review: Stay Loyal

01 Oct 2023 // A review by Kerry MB

I feel there’s something extra in the old school pop punk waters lately with Blink 182 hitting our shores early next year, and Sum 41 releasing new music too for the first time in four years.

It’s an exciting time if you’re a millennial, and for those of us who were teenagers in the early 2000’s, pop punk (and nu metal) reigned. It was also a time where either genre could make or break friendships.

As someone who subscribed to both genres (friendships intact) I jumped at the chance to review a band who is delivering that pop punk teenage nostalgia I remember so well from circa 2003, now into 2023.

Stray Dogs (formally known as Fire for Glory) are a four-piece based in Tamaki Makaurau. No strangers to the scene, they’ve been around now for more than ten years, and even with brief hiatus thrown in a few years ago, they’ve proved nothing gets in the way of high energy, definition of an era tunes.

Under their new name, Stay Loyal is their debut album and trust me when I say the hype is real and everything you want it to be.

First off, the production quality is immaculate, and diving right in, one of their debut and self-titled singles, Stray Dogs reminds me of the joy of school friendships and dodgy knees from the insane amount of pogoing that we did. Vocalist, Josh Pinho’s infectious vocals are everything, and there is that powerhouse unity you hear with equally infectious riffs.

Bringing an equal amount of joy is Life of The Party. An absolute gem that instantly puts a smile on your face. This kind of energy is what pop punk is about.

What I love the most about Stray Dogs is not only their passion, but their diversity for breaking the mould of what the genre can also be. Third and twelfth tracks, Ko Koe Taku Ukaipo and Mariko, respectively, is some of the coolest and possibly first Maori lyricism in pop punk I’ve come across, and it hits hard.

With guest vocals on Mariko (and another track, Phantoms, Ghosts and Monsters) by outstanding Maori musician and lyricist, Swizl Jager, it’s a real stunner and so well executed, a testament to great musicianship all round.

Likewise, Ko Koe Taku Ukaipo follows suit. It’s so much fun to hear while still capturing that high energy.

Not to diminish from those energy levels, but nestled somewhere between, Carry On is a song that makes you stop for a second. One of my favourite stand out tracks so far. It’s the kind of sentimental ballad that is simple, but with plenty of heart.

As I’m sure they already are, Stray Dogs should be proud of this ‘comeback’ debut. Their dedication to sharing their passion and talent with us definitely has been noticed, and I can’t wait to catch them live sometime soon.


About Stray Dogs

Formerly known as Fire for Glory, Stray Dogs are a pop-punk group based in Tamaki Makaurau. Bringing together elements of 2000’s era pop-punk and rock, the band deliver high-energy live shows that have won them a strong local following throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.

Under the previous moniker, the group have released multiple singles and EPs, one full-length album, and secured supporting slots with international bands such as Motion City Soundtrack (USA), Hawthorne Heights (USA), Joyce Manor (USA) and Silverstein (Canada).

After ten whole years and several lineup changes, the group decided to open a new chapter in their career, rebranding themselves as Stray Dogs.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Stray Dogs


Stay Loyal
Year: 2023
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Kerry MB

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