It’s been almost three years since The Dollyrots last graced the music scene with their 2014 album Barefoot and Pregnant. This album saw the Californian duo prove to everyone that, after the birth of their first child, parenthood can indeed be punk-rock. This March, The Dollyrots have struck again with Whiplash Splash, another fun and frantic album to prove that not only is parenthood punk-rock, but mermaids are also. Yes, mermaids. In her younger years, lead vocalist and bassist Kelly Ogden always wanted to be a mermaid…
And thus, the album title Whiplash Splash was born, alongside one of the strangest metaphors to ever appear on a punk album.
The album opens with the charming and boisterous ‘I Do’, a track packed full of infectious riffs and an earworm melody. One could go so far as to call it a love song, morphed and shaped to suit The Dollyrots’ own unique style. Despite this strong opening, it’s far from the star-track of the album. That merit goes to the somewhat title track, ‘Mermaid’. ‘Mermaid’ is everything you could want from a punk track and more. With a belting chorus and spritely, uplifting verses, it elaborates on The Dollyrots’ struggles between living in the bustling city of LA while still craving the Florida coastline. ‘I can’t survive, if you take me out of the water.’
This longing for the coast and mer-life carries through to some more melancholic tracks that feature later in the album such as ‘Jump Start This Heart’ and the aggressive and emotion-heavy, ‘City of Angels’. The two tracks are quite different in terms of sound; one’s eerie vocals almost haunting to the listener while the other is riddled with comically violent lyrics. Despite this, both tracks still hold the same twinge of want for a better place and an overwhelming fear of big changes. Because escapism can be quite punk-rock also. Don’t believe me? Listen to ‘Pack of Smokes’, the definition of punk escapism.
Sprinting from one emotion to the next, the album makes a thrilling and lively comeback as it bursts into the Dollyrots’ usual bubblegum pink sound with ‘Dance Like A Maniac’. This is a modern day reprisal of every cheesy chart dance song from the decades passed as Ogden sings, ‘Do it with yourself like you’re Billy Idol.’ This ballad is reaching out to the peculiar, daring their listeners to stand out from the crowd and dance like no one’s watching. We are pulled from beneath the rubble of heavier and more emotional tracks and re-introduced to what The Dollyrots do best; witty and infectious songs to get you grinning.
The album concludes with an unexpected, but fun, cover of Katrina and the Waves’ ‘Walking on Sunshine’. Because if parenthood, mermaids and escapism can be punk-rock, then why can’t the eighties be punk-rock too?
Whiplash Splash is without a doubt one of The Dollyrots’ most comprehensive and mature albums to date that showcases not only their development as a group, but also their fearless approach to songwriting. Their continuous experimentation within the punk genre is what has been and will continue to be the key to the duo’s success.
Whiplash Splash is out no on Arrested Youth.