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The Dollyrots – Down The Rabbit Hole
Down The Rabbit Hole - Wicked Cool Records
The Dollyrots are really the fusion of the talents of high school friends, Kelly Ogden – vocals/bass and Luis Cabezas – guitar/backing vocals, and the 24 song Down The Rabbit Hole collection spans their 20 year career, clocking in at an impressive 1 hour and 13 minutes. The album is a compilation of rare B-sides, unheard alternate takes, and a fair few cover versions of songs by bands such as Nirvana, Rancid, Bowling For Soup, Katrina And The Waves, Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, Generation X and The Undertones, plus some reworked 50’s flavoured rock n roll. However, that still leaves 12 Dollyrots originals or re-worked versions, and by and large they are all exactly what I’ve come to expect from The Dollyrots, namely good time, bubblegum pop punk. Now for some the very mention of the evil phrase “pop-punk” will have the purist dismiss this sort of sound out of hand without a listen, but that is surely their loss. I use the term in this context not as a criticism, but in celebration, as surely the whole point of making music is to entertain, and The Dollyrots certainly fulfil that brief.
The album kicks off with the excellent Too Fun For My Health, and continues is a similar bounce-along fashion with Cloud Ten, before the star of this collection bursts forth, namely Just Like All The Rest…., where Kelly lays out what she thinks about the average suit wearing American dreamer, i.e. she’s not a big fan! It’s not all bubblegum and sherbert fountains, as shown with the pointedly caustic lyrics of Get Radical, which is very much a statement on the weird inequalities between the sexes. However, serious issues aside, the fun quota is soon turned up to 11 with the love song to Star Wars, Be My Leia. There’s a 50’s Rock N’ Roll broody nature to Rebel Angel, which combined with Kelly’s higher register vocals, sound great to these ears. Super Mega Ultraviolet is the last of the original songs which are in the Killer, rather than Filler category, which is where I feel the next three songs lie. That’s not to say this trio of songs are bad, but the high flying fun of the first 9 songs just dips a touch. To use a football analogy, it’s that 10 minute spell just before half time where the frantic pace of the opening portion of the game dips, and goal attempts become sideways passes.
Fittingly the second half of the album kicks off with the first of the covers, and is an excellent, and dare I venture, more enjoyable version of Nirvana’s Breed. Of course many will say that the original is unequalled and from the point of view that it just sounds more angst ridden, I’d have to agree, but I do like the cover slightly more. This also applies to the next song, Stay, which was originally a limp singer songwriter song by Lisa Loeb, but is transformed into a great pop song by The Dollyrots, who play it slightly faster and with more of a Rocky attitude. Solid rendition’s of Rancid’s Ruby Soho, and Bowling For Soup’s, High School Never Ends fly by in a Friday night jukebox kind of way, and leave you feeling primed for the coming night’s debauchery. In fact the rest of the album is a smorgasbord of a good time jukebox, with the final flourish of Gen X’s, Dancing With Myself and The Undertones’ Teenage Kicks being the best examples.
Down The Rabbit Hole’s artwork has an Alice In Wonderland theme, so follow the White Rabbit, immerse yourself in this album, and Wonderland will be within reach.
Down The Rabbit Hole will be released on the 7th January and can also be pre-ordered / saved / added here