I got to see DOLL SKIN in concert at Trees Dallas, right after their second album Manic Pixie Dream Girl came out. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the ladies in rock and although they are younglings, DOLL SKIN has a unique sound that is all their own and have come a long way in just a couple of years. If you know their music, you will recognize them right away. Quite honestly, I’m not sure if any of them are even 25 years old yet, but it won’t be long before many people will know the name.
From Phoenix, AZ, DOLL SKIN is Sydney Dolezal (lead vocals/guitar), Alex Snowden (lead guitar), Nicole Rich (bass) and Meghan Herring (drums). This new album Love is Dead and We Killed Her (Hopeless Records,June 28), is awesome. It has their traditional feel, but they take it up a notch, with a bit heavier rifts and my Gawd, Sydney is absolutely incredible in her vocals on every single tune. How she had any voice left after recording would have been a miracle. The best I’ve heard her. Their style is a cross between pop, punk and heavy rock. They are not traditional, but perhaps “new wave”, punk, if there is such a thing.
“Don’t Cross My Path” leads the album groove. Beginning at a slow pace with some tasty guitar delay, it doesn’t take them long to pick up the rage. Impressive, this number changes tempo several times with penetrating heavy guitar. Title track “Love is Dead and We Killed Her” is their signature sound. It’s a slower pace tune, but it’s payback time as “this bitch named Karma” is going to set things right. Third in line is “Mark My Words”. I think there is a bit of animosity toward someone who inspired this tune. Rich and Herring are very much in sync here. A nicely put together effort. “No Fear” slows down the pace a bit, and is more of a melodic ballad, which is also a typical style for them. It features some nice, subdued solo work by Snowden.
A really great effort, especially by Dolezal on vocals, is “Outta My Mind”. A catchy tune that I can absolutely hear deserving of some airplay, picking up an earworm along the way. The band truly shines on “Ink Stains”. Sydney belts at the top of her lungs, and later jams with Alex. One of my favorites. Meghan has a really tasty drum beat compelling the piece and is once again right in time with Nicole on the bass. “Nasty Man” is a tough song regarding sexual abuse of an under aged girl with twisted messages. It’s a tune that will tear at your soul. A sad and tragic tune, and very intense. “Your Idols Are Dying” punks it up and gets on the heavy end of things. Probably my favorite tune on the record. It’s followed by “Empty House”.
The next tune is “When They Show Their Teeth”. We like the “na, na, na’s” in songs, and this ones got some nice ones. Beginning with a great fast drum beat, reminiscent of the old BEACH BOYS fast surfing drum track, Herring lays down a cool groove. Dolezal shines while she belts out the lyrics, Rich fills in the holes nicely while Snowden has a cool solo making for a fun and vibrant tune. Bringing up the tail is “Homesick”. Obviously a story about the conflict between being on the road, making a life as a young musician and the longing of being at home. We all know that conflict from when we were making our way in life. This one brought a tear to my eye and made my heart ache. A+ on the last one.
I notice real progress in DOLL SKIN from several years ago. Tunes are better written, the mix is better, the lyrics are more mature and I think it shows, although I like all of them, really. Many second and third efforts start to head down a different path, but I think DOLL SKIN is on the right track, steadily progressing in the right direction. Salude’
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Outta My Mind”, “Ink Stains”, “Your Idols Are Dying”, “When They Show Their Teeth”, “Homesick”
-MARK “\M/ETAL \M/ESSIAH” EHRLICH