Saturday, September 29, 2012

Because They're Awesome

So, the fourth album from The Dollyrots (Kelly Ogden, Luis Cabesaz, and whomever is occupying the ever-changing drummer slot) has been here in the house for about two weeks, and since it's arrival, few other recordings have seen much airplay.  With my ever-changing moods and a collection pushing 4000 titles, the soundtrack around here usually changes often. So for an LP to dominate the turntable like this says a lot.  The Dollyrots is simply a fantastic record - and yes, mine is a vinyl copy (neat-o clear vinyl, no less!) that actually does claim the turntable as home right now.

In some ways, the album comes across of something of a reboot for the band.  After three remarkably solid efforts, two of which were issued by Joan Jett's Blackheart Records, the band went back to a grassroots approach this time around.  The record was done completely independently with funding coming from fan contributions through Kickstarter.  Often, a band's self-titled album is their debut; by calling this one The Dollyrots, the band seems to be signalling a new phase.  Original drummer Chris Black was gone, replaced by Alicia Warrington, and the band recorded an updated version of their biggest hit, "Because I'm Awesome," which is found as a hidden track here.  The album even kicks off with a short track called "Starting Over," expanded at the end of the album as "Starting Over Again."

Of course, the more things change the more they stay the same, they say.  It may be a new era for The Dollyrots, but they sound as good as ever.  They deliver plenty of their brand of high energy punky-poppy fun spiced with Kelly's usual mischievious wink and lyrics that are much more substantial than her kartoon-kiddie vocals suggest they might be.  The cuts are more polished these days, and there are a few obvious nods to present-day pop-radio hooks ("I Wanna Go" and "So Wrong It's Right" are noticeably radio-ready), but because the band did it on their own terms, they managed to make those concessions without losing a bit of their personality.

When the album really cooks, though, is when all such trappings are dropped and The Dollyrots just  do what they do best. "Twist Me To The Left," "Pretty On The Outside," and the single "Hyperactive" are prime cuts for blaring speakers and crazed air-guitaring; "F U Famous" is one of the best things they've ever done.

Unfortunately, the news is that Warrington is already gone and a new drummer is sitting in during The Dollyrots' present tour.  A shame on one hand, because the Kelly/Luis/Alicia trio made a joyful noise this time around; on the other hand, they have survived one drummer change already.  This one could lead to an equally fortunate find for a replacement.  My work schedule means I'm going to miss the band on this tour (they're in Philly on Monday night at Kung Fu Necktie), so I guess the album will be seeing even more airplay around these parts.  Should be seeing airplay in your world as well.  Go pick up a copy!

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