The Dollyrots - Whiplash Splash (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Dollyrots

Whiplash Splash (2017)

Arrested youth

Nobody, and I mean nobody, in pop-punk has the talent for pop hooks that the Dollyrots have. Their music is so sugary sweet that it’s not recommended for diabetics. With all the millions of dollars that corporations put into figuring out how to write a catchy song, they’re surprisingly outdone by two parents (and a longer line of rotating drummers than Spinal Tap) recording on their own independent record label. The band refers to Whiplash Splash as their sixth studio album, which can only mean that they aren’t counting Love Songs, Werewolves, & Zombies, their 2014 acoustic album of mostly new material that pulled off a minor miracle in being an all-acoustic album with no drums that still has a full sound and robust hooks. As I do count Love Songs…, that makes Whiplash Splash their seventh studio album, their fourth on their own Arrested Youth Records, their fourth fan-funded album, and their second to be recorded while frontwoman Kelly Ogden was pregnant. They even made it a goal to have a new album recorded before her delivery date, which was in November, and they release it to those who helped crowdfund the album and who preordered it on February 24th, while the rest of the world has to wait another month. The band essentially shared the journey of the album and their pregnancy on the band’s website, and Whiplash Splash is the product they ended up with over a very intimate project. So what does the finished product look like?

The album kicks off with one of the band’s most energetic songs, “I Do.” “Mermaid” is as beautiful a song as its name implies. “Just Because I’m Blonde” is admittedly easy and obvious, but has a lot of fun along the way. “Saturday Morning” has the slickest hooks on the album, while “City of Angels” is a mile-a-minute punk fun ride. “Jump Start My Heart” slows things down more than the Dollyrots usually do for the album’s most sultry, deeply passionate song. My favorite track has to be the inspirational “Other Trucker,” which sounds musically like what Jimmy Buffet would sound like if he didn’t suck. Finishing off the album, in the typical style of the Dollyrots covering classic songs, is a fantastic rendition of “Walking on Sunshine” that makes the song their own while still keeping the spirit of the original.

The Dollyrots are a pop-punk band that seem very happy with their particular place in the scene. They’ve accepted their pop-punkiness where some other bands resist it, and have been working on perfecting their style for well over a decade now. This album plays with a few new styles, but mostly while remaining firmly in the pop-punk genre. I don’t know where a married couple who have two kids, and who have pretty much been together since childhood, get the inspiration for songs like “Babbling Idiot” about the nervousness of being around a crush, or “Saturday Morning” about the morning after a one-night stand, but I’m glad they do because they’re surprisingly insightful into such things despite their situation. And the fact that they’re a family band is utterly adorable, and seems to have given them a lot of time to constantly work on and perfect their sound, and also gives them the chance to share big, personal moments with their fans. It may be pretty traditional pop-punk, but as far as pure, straightforward examples of the genre go, Whiplash Splash is one of the best I’ve heard in a while.