Review by Molly Segers
Amanda Palmer isn’t the only one putting out records with the help of loyal fans on Kickstarter.com . The Dollyrots set out last year to raise just $7,500 to record their latest self-titled record and wound up raising over $33,000 thanks to the promise of pet rocks, cookies, clothes, musical instruments, vinyl, karaoke parties, and of course, early access to the record.
The Dollyrots, made up of Kelly Ogden, Luid Cabezas, and a forever rotating cast of drummers, are known for their stripped down 3-piece sound and songs from the Ramones school of songwriting – pure pop drenched in attitude. This is true of this record – it’s self-titled so it should be pretty quintessentially them, right? Their punky attitude has always been softened by Ogden’s sweet, almost child-like voice. For this record they go a bit farther, polishing up the edges a bit, which you can hear on tracks like “So Wrong It’s Right” and “South of the Border”. This new found polish might be the evolution of a band that’s been fortunate enough to make it to their fourth record. I can’t help but wonder if it’s thanks in part to being free to make the record they want rather than subconsciously needing to make a record that “fit” their previous labels, Lookout Records and Blackheart Records.
Don’t assume this change is betraying their fans, though. This record is very true to their tradition of making records chock full of chants and sing-alongs for rock clubs full of guys in leather jackets swilling PBR and setting the scene for teen flicks and TV series (Easy A, Degrassi, Sister Hood of the Traveling Pants 2, and Vampire Diaries, to name a few) . Prime examples of this well-honed Dollyrots tradition are “Twist Me to the Left” and “I Wanna Go” with its heavenly chorus of “I wanna go! Go!” and chant of, “Down in the front! Hands up in the back!”.
They aren’t all party songs, though. Reminiscent of an old John Waters flick, “Pretty on the Inside” goes after the obsession with looks asking, “If she swallows her makeup will it make her pretty on the inside? “FU Famous,” co-penned with Michael Einstein and Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo, bashes the shallow tabloid Hollywood scene, declaring that they’re “not tryin’ to be famous” and want something more than “red carpets, VIP, just everything about it”.
If teen flicks and rock clubs aren’t your scene, this record is just as perfectly suited to the classic rock tradition of dancing around the house while home alone with it’s perfect power pop, punk attitude, and firecracker front-women vocals. It comes out September 18th and is available to non-Kickstarter backers via TheDollyrots.com, including a selection of presale packs with tee shirts, tote bags, posters, buttons, and more.
Video for first single “Hyperactive”