The Dopamines - Tales of Interest (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Dopamines

Tales of Interest (2017)


After five years away, The Dopamines return with Tales of Interest. Released, stateside, on Rad Girlfriend Records this return to the scene is truly a southwestern Ohio collaborative effort. While the band has grown as musicians, and added a new second guitarist by the name of Josh Goldman, the past five years had also left my ears hungry for some solid pop-punk. The Dopamines don’t disappoint.

From the start of opener “Kalte Ente” this album takes you back to the 90’s when pop-punk didn’t seem as concerned with deciding whether it was going to be loud and edge or take a quirkier pop oriented route. The music on this album really succeeds in capturing everything people who grew up listening to Punk-O-Rama and compilation albums from Fat Wreck and Lookout remember about pop-punk. And it does it without sound passé, coming off like the musical equivalent of a delicious meal that reminds you of something you mother used to make.

Lyrically, the band digs into the perils of life with a dark humor that many Midwestern bands seem to excel at. “The King of Swilling Powers (Part I,II,III)”, touches on drinking too much and blaming your mistakes on someone else. While the band touches on suicide, with tongue firmly in cheek, on a re-recording of “Business Papers” which first appeared on The Thing That Ate Larry Livermore.

The Dopamines don’t carve out a lot of new ground here, but they certainly further cultivate the land they already have quite well. While some bands will either charge light years ahead of their fans or just dust the cobwebs off every few years to show their fans they’re still around, this band finds the perfect middle ground. They took what they already had, figured out how to make it better, and in the process developed a new sound or two. It’s some of the best Midwestern pop-punk I’ve heard this year. And given the fact the band lives about an hour from me, and are all roughly the same age I am, when it sounds like they’re singing about my life. It’s likely because on some level, they actually are.