Soundchecked: The Dollyrots- A Little Messed Up

Rating: 8/10

Having been released in August, this album only came to my attention recently, when researching The Dollyrots ahead of their UK tour with Texan Punks Bowling For Soup.

When you’re confronted by a female-fronted punk band, signed to Blackheart Records (Yes, Joan Jett’s label), it’s hard to get the image of a humourless, try-too-hard group of wannabes out of your head. Thankfully The Dollyrots take care of this.

With a tongue in cheek approach to their songs, the band will fit in well at a BFS gig. One of the best qualities they make use of is Kelly Ogden’s voice, which, despite being silky and sweet, carries bitter and mocking undertones superbly.

Of course, this is only necessary on a few occasions. This album also sees Ogden seem to effortlessly add an abrasive quality to her vocals when needed. It is this that stops some of the catchier songs, particularly “California Beach Boy”, straying too far away from their obvious punk roots.

“My Heart Explodes”, on the other hand, is a refreshingly polished mid-album effort.  More than a mere filler (which, let’s face it, is almost a requirement for most albums), this song has catchy lyrics, a typically modest bass line, and mean guitar build ups that make this the quintessential pop-punk song.

“Some Girls” sits nicely on the fence, again a perfect example of how to combine both parts of your Pop-Punk tag. With the verses just that little bit jaded, and the choruses primed for sparking a UK sing-along or three, all that’s left to finish this song off is that must-have, a key change. Of course, there it is, right at the end, a fitting close to a great song. It seems highly likely that this will be a regular feature on their October set lists.

As if trying to prove that this album is intended to be fun, “Om Nom Nom” finds itself rammed onto the rear end of the CD. Had it been anywhere else, this juvenile, yet charming song would be considered a waste of time. Where it is, however, it plays the role of a cheeky parting shot quite remarkably.

Silly it may be in terms of lyrical content, but musically this is another success for The Dollyrots. From the catchy intro to the petulant verses, right through the guitar riff into the angst-ridden breakdown, don’t be fooled by the name, the song is a treat.

So while they may be a bit too sweet to be punk, and they may be a little too edgy to be pop, one thing is for sure; The Dollyrots are rocking all the spaces in-between.

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