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A bit of punk history for you.
on 17 March 2008
The first New York Dolls album is a fun collection of rock n' roll songs, but it really suffers from a lack of low end. The bass is almost inaudible even on my super bass heavy home stereo. That concern aside, what you're left with is an otherwise nicely produced record, with some well executed and fun ideas. The only real negative is the phase effect on the drums in "Vietnamese Baby".
Most of the songs on the record are based around that rhythm guitar style that Chuck Berry made famous, and that you'll hear on a lot of Status Quo records. Unfortunately, I'm not a fan of it. Nor am I a fan of the Rolling Stones, and there's a definite nod in that direction. You have to admire the Dolls' attitude though, and their ear for a good chorus. In fact, with it's very 50s rock n' roll base, you could look at it as a forerunner to the Clash's seminal "London Calling" LP.
There are no real weak tracks on the album, but for me it doesn't really get going until about halfway through. Then you get the real standouts, "Trash" with it's brilliant circular structure and irreverant homage to Micky and Sylvia's "Love is Strange" (from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack)- "How do you call your loverboy? Trash!" and the irresistable "Pills".
David Johansen's voice is a solid anchor throughout the album, and the backing vocals are very well presented. In all there's a nice attention to detail that would get lost on a lot of the later "punk" albums, so while it's not exactly my thing, it's still a solid collection that I think I'll be able to return to from time to time. It's hard to say whether I'll bother getting any other Dolls albums, but only time will tell on that score.