The Dollyrots – Night Owls

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The Dollyrots

The Dollyrots

Night Owls - Wicked Cool Records

After more than two decades together The Dollyrots have previously released nine albums, seven studio albums (Eat My Heart Out, Because I’m Awesome, A Little Messed Up, The Dollyrots, Barefoot & Pregnant, Whiplash Splash and Daydream Explosion), the acoustic Love Songs, Werewolves and Zombies, a live album, Family Vacation, and a ridiculous amount of singles and EP’s. The duo are now set to return after the pandemic brought the prolific pair’s relentless recording and touring to a dead stop, after hitting the road again the band are now set to release their eighth studio album, Night Owls, on Friday 13th October. If you already know The Dollyrots then you are probably already looking forward to this release, if you don’t know them, what have you been doing?

The Dollyrots

The Californian duo are fun, they are froth, they are fizz, they are a sugar rush, if you think I’m being patronising or steeling myself for giving the album a good kicking, well I’m not as fun, froth, fizz and sugar are found at parties (amongst other fun things) and the moments you tend to remember in your life are usually the best and the worst, and many of the former will be celebrations of some description. The Dollyrots are a party, they are unapolgesticlly positive and always have been, and in this grim world we live in being a beacon of positivity is not a bad thing, in fact I’d say this non prescription antidepressant should be compulsory. So let’s head into The Dollyrots eighth studio, and tenth overall, full length.

Night Owls kicks off with 5+5 and in less than a minute you can feel your mood lifting, this is a hi octane Californian pop punk anthem that sets the tone. I Just Wanna Play Dead is another perfect slice of California, punk with a side of rock ’n roll that is followed by the almost title track, Night Owl, that switches over to a more modern polished pop punk style that is delivered with their own instantly recognisable hook. Hot Mom With The Skinny Pants On is pure Dollyrots, you know this as soon as you see the song title and it doesn’t confound your expectations. When We’re Sober brings things the pace down a bit, this is not an anti drinking song, more of a cautionary tale, and a good friend does get you to calm the fuck down now and then (but not too often!), whilst the lead single, Hey Girl, brings us to the half way point with a hit of classic pop punk.

The Vow is the eve present love song, they are a couple and they seem to be happy, they always seem to be happy, and this is another perfect pop punk uplift. Trees Sway gives us the almost obligatory acoustic track that features on pop punk albums, normally I’d be itching to skip over at this point, but this is another string to their bow, The Dollyrots do melancholy acoustic and they do it well, you should check out their cover of DescendentsNothing With You if you don’t believe me, and the additional instrumentation unexpectedly makes this a heartfelt stand out. Tonight With You sees the party kick back in with a hit of pure downstroke pop punk, this is followed by Can’t Tell You Why, a track that kicks things up a notch with a straight up four on the floor beat.

Not rock n’ roll enough for you? How about Alligator, a track that channels a hint of garage into their pop punk rock in a Foxboro Hot Tubs kinda way. The first few seconds of Irish Goodbye makes you think this is going to go a bit Dropkick Murphys, but this is LA not Boston and this is pure bouncy pop punk joy The final track, a cover of the Billy Bragg classic, A New England, (although it must be said it’s the late Kirsty MacColl who truly made the song her own), that is true to the original, well maybe more to Kirsty’s superb version, but of course it’s given The Dollyrots twist. Thirteen tracks have gone in the blink of an eye, leaving me with the feeling that with Night Owls the upbeat duo might just have made their best album to date.

The Dollyrots

The Dollyrots will probably always sound like The Dollyrots, you could level the same accusations at too many bands to list, but is this a bad thing? The answer is not always, this wasn’t seen as an issue for one of their biggest influences, Ramones. The best bands have instantly recognisable sound and that’s what this Californian couple have always had. The Dollyrots have cute kids, they adopt animals, they are DIY punk rock, their live shows are Fun, the capital is deliberate, and they give away a Christmas song every year, there isn’t anything not to like about them, and the same can be said of this album. In what has been a pretty grim year overall we all need a bit of sunshine in our lives, and as we’re heading in to the darker colder months, both literally and metaphorically, The Dollyrots latest album is as welcome a schnapps laced hot chocolate on a cold winter evening.