There are inescapable feel-good encounters and there are others which lead you into lustfully energetic engagements but there are very few which has the body and spirit engaged in a full on party of endless physical endeavour equipped with mischievous behaviour. Whiplash Splash is one of the few, a feverish riot of sound and inhibition squashing incitement virtually tattooing a broad smile on face and mood.
Uncaged by Californian duo The Dollyrots, the band’s sixth studio album is a new wave of their bubblegum flavoured pop infested punk ‘n’ roll. A year ago, the pair invaded a new plateau in their sound with the Mama’s Gonna Knock You Out EP, itself continuing the new bloom of growth started by previous album Barefoot and Pregnant two years before that. Now the ‘invader’ has become the conqueror, Whiplash Splash owning the new level of creative maturity and instinctive contagion in the pair’s sound leaving the body exhausted and emotions flying in its wake.
If last year was a truly busy time for the couple of vocalist/bassist Kelly Ogden and vocalist/guitarist Luis Cabezas, with the release of the EP and a sold out UK tour with Bowling For Soup backing up the birth of their child, 2017 has the potential of being even hungrier on their time and virulent revelry with Whiplash Splash leading the way. As Mama’s Gonna Knock You Out, the crowd funded album was produced by John Fields with the duo and immediately has ears and attention enslaved with a proposition maybe best described as The Donnas and The Crystals meets Australian band Valentiine infused with Bowling For Soup mischief, a hint which covers all the album though really it is all best pinned down as simply The Dollyrots.
With the album’s title, imagery, and writing spun from Ogden’s passion for and longing to be a mermaid, as well as working as a metaphor for the band’s spilt time living in downtown Los Angeles and coastal Florida, Whiplash Splash just rips itself from the speakers with opener I Do. A squeal and coaxing beats hit ears before a swaggering stroll of Ramones like riffs and further tenacious rhythmic exploit punk instincts led by the catchy vocal lures of Ogden and the equally enticing throb of her bass. Feet and hips are just as quickly involved as too voice and appetite, the song simply punk pop devilry refusing to be ignored.
The following Babbling Idiot is just as virulent, Ogden’s harmonic romancing warming the angular surge of guitar and the sparking of solitary rhythmic seduction before it all boils up into another seriously addictive and physically persuasive chorus. The song has a slim seventies/eighties scent to it, occasionally bringing thoughts of bands like The Photos and The Waitresses, but roars with a punk ‘n’ roll zeal borne of today’s agitation and energy.
Next up is Mermaid, the song pure seduction from its harmonic caresses and flirtatious hooks to a sonic blaze fuelled by just as forceful bait. It is a creative collusion built for the listener’s slavish captivation, success captured within a handful of breaths with similar rewards sought and found by Just Because I’m Blonde straight after. With Cabezas’ guitar jangle the first chain of temptation, Ogden’s probing bassline the second, the track quickly prowls the senses with a lively confident swagger and a throbbing almost salacious backbone. Again hooks escape from each creative twist with B52s inspired keys just adding to the imagination igniting drama.
From its first breath, the album is a puppeteer to body and spirit, continuing its manipulation in fine style with Squeeze Me. Its initial rockabilly hued bass groove is alone enough to tempt submission, an almost taunting tempting soon fondled by sonic invention and subsequently joined by Ogden’s vocal saunter. As words and song make an increasingly pop punk proposal no red blooded rocker can refuse, kinetic dynamics ensure class ‘A’ catchiness before This Addiction serenades ears with its own boisterously infectious swing and harmonic invention; its croon sliding melodic caresses across the senses like a sultry lover inflamed with lust borne energy.
Dance Like a Maniac more than lives up to its title as a persuasion, its bold and bruising punk rock a bully for feet and body swerves driving song and listener into zealous union while Saturday Morning with a great opening bass groan offers its own headstrong physical temptation. Riffs and rhythms alone are sparks for instinctive compliance and only assisted by the blend of hard and pop rock surging through the song’s imaginative tapestry of sound and ideation.
Both tracks leave lungs gasping for breath and pleasure over flowing, yet still get slightly eclipsed by the hip swinging incitement that is City of Angels; imagine The Runaways and Bikini Kill mixing with The Go-Gos and you have a sense of its mighty romp before things mellow out with the graceful Jump Start This Heart, a song lined with an electro pop shimmer and bound in melancholic beauty as a sonic fire burns in its heart.
The rawer pop ‘n’ roll of Pack of Smokes steps forward next, bouncing along as a caustic air hugs its fiercely catchy enterprise and energy, and though it does not quite match those before it, the song leaves satisfaction pumped before the outstanding Other Trucker with its reggae hinted, attitude soaked summer canter again has pleasure brimming over. As throughout, Cabezas’ vocal backing and unity with Ogden’s is superb, often understated but always a complimentary hue to her almost siren-esque presence, especially on this treat.
The album closes with Walking on Sunshine, The Dollyrots giving the Katrina and the Waves classic their distinctive craft and energy. To be honest, it is a song which has never lit our fires but that does not stop the twosome causing bodies to bounce in the office as the album ends in fine style.
Ogden and Cabezas have hit another high with Whiplash Splash, their loftiest yet in all aspects and fair to say, when put together by The Dollyrots pop and punk has never been more tempting.
Whiplash Splash is out now through Arrested Youth Records and is available digitally and physically @ https://thedollyrots.bandcamp.com/
Upcoming Live Dates
Mar 28 The Rebel Lounge Phoenix, AZ
Mar 29 The Hideout San Diego, CA
Mar 31 The Hi Hat Los Angeles, CA
Apr 01 The Slidebar Rock-n-Roll Kitchen Fullerton, CA
May 11 The Saint Asbury Park, NJ
May 12 Firehouse 13 Providence, RI
May 15 Cafe Nine New Haven, CT
May 16 Ottobar Baltimore, MD
May 17 Kung Fu Necktie Philadelphia, PA
May 19 Sunnyvale – Brooklyn Brooklyn, NY
Pete RingMaster 25/03/2017
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