The Dollyrots - Eat My Heart Out (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Dollyrots

Eat My Heart Out (2004)

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Bubblegum pop. This is the sort of music that balances on a pin of respectability, vulnerable to even the slightest changes. With a bit higher production values, slightly smoothed out edges or a tad less aggression this is the sort of thing I'd easily ignore. To their credit the Dollyrots keep things grounded, despite showing off qualities that would easily appeal to the masses. This is partly because there's a spirit of innocence that's asserted on Eat My Heart Out. Oh, it's by-design of course (there's a reason that word shows up in every review of this record -- it's on the one sheet) but it's effective in making the divide between heartfelt and plastic pop.

Singer/bassist Kelly Ogden is the hub of the band and her sweet, girl-group influenced vocals make or break the songs. For the most part, she's wonderfully effective, particularly on defiant, wounded-relationship cuts like "Kick Me to the Curb" and "Poison Dart." Throughout the album the band keeps things light and sunny, particularly with tracks like "Jackie Chan" and the cat-tribute "Feed Me, Pet Me." Some of this stuff can get a bit too cutesy for my tastes, but guitarist Luis Cabezas and drummer Joshua Valenti keeps things catchy and moving so that nothing really overstays its welcome. If the Dollyrots' songwriting focus hasn't been driven home by the end of the album, they wrap things up with a rocking cover of the Ronettes' "By My Baby."

There always seems to be a handful of female-fronted bands bopping around just under the surface of the punk-mainstream with that Shangri-La's by-way-of-the Ramones sound, and the Dollyrots certainly fit that description. If you're looking for something that leans heavily on the pop side of that description (as opposed to, say, Les Hell On Heels on the garage end of the spectrum) then the Dollyrots are for you. It's not too hard to see this being a huge hit with a younger audience.