The Dollyrots - Daydream Explosion (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Dollyrots

Daydream Explosion (2019)

Wicked Cool

Pop is nothing to sneeze at. As much as punk rockers love to turn up their noses at pop, think of how much time, energy, and money is put in by big corporations like iHeartMedia to determine how to write the perfect pop song. Now imagine a literal mom and pop operation trying to do the same thing on a DIY level and imagine how much harder that must be. The Dollyrots return with Daydream Explosion, their latest collection of some of the best pop hooks in punk rock written in-between taking care of their two kids and recorded in their home studio, which, for me, just makes it even more impressive. The band primarily consists of Kelly and Luis Dollyrot, who have been a couple since their high school years and have been the only consistent members of the band since its inception, with the band’s drummers always rotating in and out. While they often pull from experiences of friends to write songs about things that haven’t really experienced first-hand, like heartbreak and one-night stands, what really shines through on Daydream Explosion are the simple love songs between the husband and wife team.

“Animal” is as ferocious of an opener as its name implies, and kicks off an amazing triple threat at the beginning of the album along with “Everything” and “In Your Face,” serving up some powerful pop-punk tunes. Probably my favorite track on the album is “I Know How to Party” which borrows the vocal effect from Andrew W.K.’s “Party Hard” to create a fun and silly little song that you would hardly guess was written by two parents. “Flippy in My Red Dress” is another amazing stand out with a sexy, Stray Cats inspired number about casual sex. But some of the best songs on the album are the songs that sound like they’re simply love letters between Kelly and Luis, such as “Naked,” “Everything,” and the insanely infectious “No Princess” with its Third Eye Blind-style chorus. A few songs, admittedly, don’t work as well as others. “Kat’s Meow” is very catchy, but is lyrically awkward with its strangely structured chorus of “If my name was Kat, you would be my meow” and the perplexing spoken line “C’mon, nobody’s really named Kat, right?” (Yes, Kelly, I have plenty of friends named Cat. What are you talking about?). “Love You Instead” centers around a pretty obvious little lyrical joke that you’ll definitely see coming if you read the title of the song. But this album hits way more than it misses, and the beautiful tribute to the couple’s Dollytot, “Daisy’s Song,” provides a poignant ending to the album.

The Dollyrots aren’t really reinventing anything or doing anything groundbreaking with their music or lyrics, but their dedication to the craft of pop-punk is what makes them really a special band. They continue to hustle with little to no corporate oversight, self-financing a lot of their work. This is their first record in a while that isn’t released on their own label, but it doesn’t seem like Wicked Cool records did much to change their creative process. Daydream Explosion is just the latest testament to a band that genuinely loves what they do and clearly shouldn’t be doing anything else.