13 Songs, 41 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

This is the first album by the reunited New York Dolls to not sound anything like the original group. Instead, they head towards the original band’s roots and come up with sassy R&B numbers and girl- group emulations that rely less on the pummeling thunder of electric guitar and more on gritty sax and flashy keyboards. With just singer David Johansen and guitarist Syl Sylvain remaining and ex-Blondie Frank Infante taking over for guitarist Steve Conte, the Dolls are smart to chase this sound. Johansen is never at a loss for words. “I’m So Fabulous” and its accompanying rant shows Johansen doesn’t think much of modern NYC transplants, while the re-animated “Funky But Chic,” from Johansen’s first solo album, is down and dirty. The Caribbean breezes of “You Don’t Have to Cry” lets Johansen put on his tourism chief cap. “Talk to Me Baby” kicks it with handclaps and a soul band arrangement. The cover of “I Sold My Heart to the Junkman,” a 1962 hit for Patti LaBelle & The Blue Belles, fits the album’s concept perfectly.

EDITORS’ NOTES

This is the first album by the reunited New York Dolls to not sound anything like the original group. Instead, they head towards the original band’s roots and come up with sassy R&B numbers and girl- group emulations that rely less on the pummeling thunder of electric guitar and more on gritty sax and flashy keyboards. With just singer David Johansen and guitarist Syl Sylvain remaining and ex-Blondie Frank Infante taking over for guitarist Steve Conte, the Dolls are smart to chase this sound. Johansen is never at a loss for words. “I’m So Fabulous” and its accompanying rant shows Johansen doesn’t think much of modern NYC transplants, while the re-animated “Funky But Chic,” from Johansen’s first solo album, is down and dirty. The Caribbean breezes of “You Don’t Have to Cry” lets Johansen put on his tourism chief cap. “Talk to Me Baby” kicks it with handclaps and a soul band arrangement. The cover of “I Sold My Heart to the Junkman,” a 1962 hit for Patti LaBelle & The Blue Belles, fits the album’s concept perfectly.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.0 out of 5
35 Ratings

35 Ratings

mzakem ,

About time

Now that the Dolls have spent two albums attempting to channel the sound, if not soul, of Johnny Thunders, David Jo finally decides to channel his inner Mary Weiss. Not a slick lick among the 12 music tracks, just some well-produced girl-group tunes. With Frank Enfante playing guitar, I worry about how the older stuff will sound live, but I'm probably never going to get the chance to find out, so I don't think I'll sweat it. I'll just continue listening with a smile on my face.

xpandingman ,

It's A Growa'

I wrote a review and then accidently erased it but here are the key points:

Lyrics: Sitting comfortably between rowdy and ruminating. Davey Jo has outdone himself while under doing it...by his standards anyway.

Production: Low-fi suits the sweet sloppy stew of loose blues rock, 60’s girl group pop & doo-wop, trashy glam and 50’s dance music. It’s a gutsy move to paint with a fizzier sonic palette. It brings the streets to your ears.

Guitars: Not nearly enough Sylvain, now entirely absent Steve Conte missed and Thunders-less even in spirit. Ex-Blondie lead player woefully underused but the subtle contribution is palpable after multiple spins. Guitars should have been a bit more muscular with crackle and kink and more prominent throughout.

Songs: Riddled with hooks and punchy arrangements. Melodic and groovy. Huge improvement over “samey” riffs from last disc where only a few tracks stood out.

Bass: The new sound and approach takes some getting used to. It’s not Sam Yaffa (think punchy Rick not bulging Fender) but it works in context and is well executed.

Drums: Outstanding! Always creative and complimentary.

Vocals: Infectiously fun and gritty like sand in your swim trunks at Coney Island.

Ornamentation: Breezy, wheezy vintage organs, bowel socking honks of baritone sax, rollicking piano and finger popping percussion.

Overall: I really love this record and at first I didn’t like it at all. Back from the dead? No. Back to their roots? Yep. Might well become a top ten favorite of all time. An organic, urban urbane mini-masterpiece. Keep listening if it doesn’t grab you right away it will. Know what I mean?

Shazzbot! ,

Exile on Delancy Street

Yeah, I said it, this is the Dolls "Exile...". How do I justify that you ask? Exile was when the Stones rocks finally dropped- they channeled everything that made them who they were into who they were gonna: no more imitation; no more sophistry, cheekiness, or "white boy" blues... Pre-Exile stuff is awesome and classic, but when you hear Exile, you know that this is all familiar, but you also know that no one else is playing this stuff anymore, not cuz they don't want to- it's cuz they just can't. Just as Mick and Keith and the boys drew heavily on everything from Slim Harpo to the Louvin Brothers, the Dolls may share that too, but they also got somethin' the Stones never had: New York. This album drips New York: the doowopstreetcornerkeeparmbythefirestuff; the stuff Billy Joel wishes he could channel; the Great girl groups that you know would slit your throat as easily as give you a great big kiss... It's all here, hear... Too bad Johnny, Arthur, Billy, and Jerry couldn't be here for it, but had they stuck it out back at that trailer park in Florida so long ago, this album coulda gotten made with them years ago, rather than without them... Cheers boys -and thank you for finally gettin around to it...

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