The Dollyrots began life as a fairly straightforward pop/punk group, with a heavy accent on the pop half of the equation. By the time of their third album, 2010's A Little Messed Up, the scales had tipped entirely in favor of pop with loud guitars and a snappy attitude, which is not a bad thing at all! Fast forward a couple years and the band has left the care of Joan Jett's Blackheart label and set off on their own, funding the self-titled 2012 album through Kickstarter and calling all the shots themselves. If you thought this might mean a return to their punkier roots, you'd be dead wrong. Instead, sweet-voiced singer/bassist Kelly Ogden and guitarist Luis Cabezas decided to dive headfirst into modern pop and come out like an amazingly accurate 2010's update of Josie & the Pussycats (the movie edition). Their spunky, hooky guitar pop is tricked out with shiny synths, cheerleader chants, ska-punk interludes, "MMMBop"-esque sound effects, and mariachi horn blasts. The record sounds slicker than a slice of Velveeta that's been sitting out on the counter all day, but every song sounds like a hit. A happy, corny radio hit that keeps you grinning all day long. Along with channeling Josie, the duo reaches back to that golden moment in the late '90s when rock, pop, alternative, and punk all smashed together in a glittering mess and bands like Weezer, Dance Hall Crashers, Sugar Ray, and No Doubt ruled the airwaves with silly pop songs. The Dollyrots do an amazing job of recapturing that magic moment, but also make their own memories with really strong, totally fun, memorable songs like "Hyperactive," "Twist Me to the Left," "I Wanna Go," and the ridiculously hooky "So Wrong It's Right," which sounds like Vitamin C fronting Hanson. The only tracks that let down the album a little are the serious ones, like "After 2012" and "Pretty On the Outside," which sound just a little past their reach. These are tiny blips that don't detract too much from the success of the album. The Dollyrots may not ever make an "important" record, but if they keep making records as fun and happy as The Dollyrots, that would be just fine.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra