The Dollyrots' third album takes the California trio one step further away from the punky sound of their 2004 debut record on Lookout and toward the mainstream. While it's true that Kelly Ogden's vocals can still be snotty, and even snarling on occasion, she's more likely to croon sweetly here. Luis Cabezas' guitar is crunchy and distorted, but it's more heavily processed and layered this time out. Many of the songs are uptempo and almost fiery, but on the whole, the record is more cuddly than dangerous. Basically, they've tipped the balance on the pop-punk scale completely to the pop side, and anyone looking for a record that has some bite or holds any surprises might want to look elsewhere. And if you were a fan of the earlier Dollyrots albums, you may be a bit disappointed by the direction they've taken. Having said that, A Little Messed Up isn't a bad record. Not at all, in fact. There's always a place for a well-executed, hooky, and fun pop record sung by a girl with a great voice, and this is one of them. There are quite a few tunes that would sound perfect blasting from a car radio on a summer day like "California Beach Boy," "California," "Some Girls," and "Just Like Chocolate." Sure, they are a little generic musically and cliched lyrically, but there is enough energy in the performances and spirit in the vocals to keep the songs exciting. Mixed in are some sweet love songs ("My Heart Explodes") and ballads ("Pour Tour Jours") that show a softer side of Ogden's persona that contrasts nicely with her usual spunkiness. The only song that doesn't quite work is the over-cooked "Rollercoaster" which throws in too many radio-friendly tricks, and ends up sounding like an attempt to horn in on Taylor Swift's action. Apart from that one easy-to-skip lowlight, the album is an easy to digest 40 minutes of pop/rock that should make labelheads Joan Jett and Kenny Laguna very happy.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra