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Album Review: dollys – low year

Nicole Gifford February 26, 2016 New Music, Reviews No Comments


Photo Credit: Phil Shepherd

We’re supposed to believe that dollys are justified in calling 2015 a “low year.” But if their latest set of tracks serve as any evidence, it was one of the band’s best years yet.

The three-piece band now showcases their nostalgic and effervescent brand of New Brunswick-based indie-pop with a new collection of the singles they produced last year, released on CD by Sniffling Indie Kids. dollys, who put out their first full-length last June, are forging ahead fast – with smooth vocals and bumping melodies still blazing.

Like Best Coast’s Bethany Consetino before her, singer and drummer Natalie Newbold’s voice walks a fine line between disaffected and saccharine. The lyrical content of low year does the same, with thumping, jangly songs like the bittersweet-yet-upbeat “better.”

It’s clear that dollys draw inspiration from a huge range of musical references. See “i know,” which has moments of near-reggae collaged with a shoegaze-influenced bridge that builds into a huge and impressive crescendo. “cornerstones” is infused with innocent doo-wop sensibilities and swinging bass, while “doctor” offers addictive radio pop harmonies over a tightly wound backbeat. Meanwhile, “imitator” calls to mind the rollicking, up-tempo girl power anthems Lush pumped out in the late 90s.

But in spite of dollys’ copious callbacks, these singles manage to come across as untethered to the past and utterly modern when taken as a whole. The ethereal “low year” – which at its best, sounds not unlike the way sun on your face feels – will make for a dreamy spring soundtrack. Laden with anachronism and experimentation, dollys’ melodic dabbling has propelled them to make an album that continually surprises and promises more ambitious releases in years to come.

dollys will celebrate low year by playing a co-release show tonight with Lost in Society at Asbury Park’s Convention Hall.

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