The Dollyrots

Whiplash Splash

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The Dollyrots' self-titled 2012 record added a huge dollop of pop cheese to their effervescent punk-pop sound. Though the sugary serving might have been enough to kill many bands who didn't have the duo's charm and hooky tunes, it didn't cause them much harm. Like the 2014 album that followed, Barefoot + Pregnant, 2017's Whiplash Splash follows the same basic template of that album, adding loads of radio-ready tricks and slicks to the spunky sound cranked out by bassist/vocalist Kelly Ogden and guitarist/sometime drummer Luis Cabezas. Working with longtime producer John Fields, the band crafts a sound that has some serious kick when it needs it, like on the rocket-fueled "Babbling Idiot" or "City of Angels." A full album of tracks like these might have helped them establish some punk cred, but that's not really what they are about. Too many tracks have sun-filled centers ("Squeeze Me"), bouncy exteriors ("Just Because I'm Blonde"), or very silly lyrics ("Dance Like a Maniac") for the album to be taken too seriously. There are enough joyless punk screamers and pretentious Green Day-lite bands out there but far too few, like the Dollyrots, who can channel the frothy, punchy brilliance of '90s-era Josie & the Pussycats; they even draft in the voice of Josie, Kay Hanley, to provide some yelping on "Just Because I'm Blonde." And the leadoff track, "I Do," would be perfect if Josie & the Cats ever get back together and need a whomping good single. As Whiplash Splash proves yet again, the Dollyrots are made for fun, built for speed, and safe at any speed.

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