The Dopamines - Soap and Lampshades (Cover Artwork)

The Dopamines

Soap and Lampshades (2009)

Cold Feet

Soap and lampshades. Both are useful items, but they aren't interchangeable. These two may seem like an odd pairing of items, but they are similar in a historical sense. There are some unfounded rumors that state that the Nazis made soap and lampshades out of the ruins of the Jewish people they desecrated. Non-sensical hatred aside, this subject hardly seems like Dopamines fodder. Sure, like their pop-punk contemporaries, the Copyrights, they have some depressing content within their upbeat songs, but never like this. Have the Dopamines taken to a darker aesthetic? I am probably just way over-analyzing things.

"Operate" starts things off, displacing any disturbing thoughts that once manifested my brain. The chorus of chanting "operate" with wavering inflection will probably be stuck inside that skull of yours for some time. "Jon Has Anxiety" starts with just a bass, momentarily, until the rest of the song kicks in. The song has a faster pace, as the Dopamines only allot themselves a little over a minute to make the song catchy and infectious. As they have previously done, they make short work of that task. "Ryan Has Anxiety," the third track, is a good but short example of a song with downtrodden lyrics mixed with an upbeat melody mentioned beforehand. The next two songs change up the formula a bit, thankfully. This helps avoid repetition and general banality.

The album closer, also the title track, runs for three minutes total. As of right now, this is the Dopamines' longest song. Their Magnum Opus, if you will (or won't). This may answer my burning question if the title does or does not reflect the horrendous acts of the Holocaust. After listening, I'm still not sure. The verse sounds like it could be, with lyrics about barbed wire turnstiles and pre-heating ovens (take that as you will). The chorus, however, dissuades me at the same time. The song is pretty damn good, though.

Soap and Lampshades has the same themes as their excellent debut did. There are still lyrics about falling in love, falling out of love, then getting up only to fall down as you drunkenly pass out. However, with six songs total, the EP is a short nine minutes. In that sense, it does leave something to be desired.