It is always a challenge to avoid cliches when writing about music. It is constantly tempting to use big, juicy adjectives to describe a new record. Take “perfect album for summer.” I have been guilty of over-using this phrase. But I am going to have to use it again for Oh, Please. The dollys‘ new album is their first full-length one and it is a stunner. It was just released this past Tuesday, one day after the official First Day of Summer—and, I am just going to say it—it is the perfect album to begin the summer season.
The album by the New Brunswick band is bright, breezy, and full of wonderful harmonies. It is not afraid to let the influences of the best of 60s pop and psychedelic music shine through. This is not to say the album is light or strictly an homage to the era of the Beach Boys and Beatles. This is excellently crafted indie pop and at a level that many bands aspire to yet never quite achieve, let alone with their first long player.
The album opens with some great upbeat indie pop in “Shameful.” After a short bass intro we are introduced right away to the great vocal harmonies between guitarist Jeff Lane and drummer Natalie Newbold who trade lyrics back and forth. They do it with such ease and it sounds so natural you would think they have been perfecting it for many more years than the band has been together. Title track “Oh, Please” speeds things up with frenetic drumming and the pounding bass of Erik Romero. A nice little touch of punk with layered vocals.
Things start to get adventurous on “Bottles.” This is a fun, groovy track with hints of the Beatles during their Magical Mystery Tour period. “Lilypad” returns to the dueling harmonies that work so well all over the album. The song ends perfectly with an anthemic chant of “I wanna be everybody I know.” “Heavy Hand” begins with a bit of Simon and Garfunkel harmonies and by the time it ends it is both dreamy and surreal. Some nice guitar effects here. A beautiful, modern-day lullaby.
Newbold’s vocals get to shine on the jovial “Anywhere” and is the most radio friendly tune here. A future hit single for sure. “Garden Path” has an interesting jazz lounge feel with punchy guitar and sultry vocals. The track stands out for its uniqueness. The acoustic guitar closer “Puddles” is a great listen that gently eases you out of the wonderful journey this album is.
I listened to Oh, Please a few times before starting to gather my thoughts and jot them down. It is such a musical achievement that I just wanted to enjoy the aural experience without the distractions of writing. The album, recorded at Lakehouse Studios in Asbury Park and out on label Sniffling Indie Kids, was produced by bassist Romero and sounds amazing. The album was recorded, mixed, and mastered with only analog technology, no computers at all. This creates a record that has a warmth and closeness that comes across.
Oh, Please is already easily on the short list of albums of the year. It’s that good.
Photo of dollys playing live courtesy of our good friend, Cool Dad Music.
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