I was contacted by a chap called Mike (Hi, Mike!) who mentioned that he’s in a band called Pop Dollys and asked if I’d like to have a listen to a few of their songs. I told him that I’d be happy to.
I had a listen and let Mike know what I thought of the songs. I also said that I’d be happy to put them on the blog along with my comments. And just after I did that, I promptly forgot about it. Unfortunately, this happened a shockingly long time ago*. (Sorry, Mike.)
However, I’m a firm believer in the phrase “better late than later”. So here, rather belatedly, are some songs by Pop Dollys – complete with unwanted opinions:
(Incidentally, ReverbNation also has a media player with these songs [minus one] but in a different order.)
1. “Never Gonna Miss You Again”
This was called “Never Gonna Miss You” on the ReverbNation player, but the media player on your website calls it “Never Gonna Miss You Again”, and the lyrics seem to suggest that the song’s actually called “Never Gonna Miss You Again”. (This may seem terribly unimportant, but I like to get the names of song right.) Unfortunately for you, while the song was playing I kept thinking of production suggestions. For example, in the song I would have preferred two main guitars playing instead of one. I would have had them double-tracked. The two guitars would each be distorted and with a chorus effect (I love chorused guitars), and positioned in the stereo spread with one hard left and the other hard right. Another thing I would have done if I was pretending to be Unwanted-Producer-of-the-Day is to get rid of that guitar in the right channel altogether (it’s pretty quiet and not doing much). And… (oh, yes – there’s more) I’d bring the harmony vocals way up in the mix (to me, they’re far too quiet) and double them, at least. To me, this song would sound fabulous if it was given the Teenage Fanclub treatment (i.e., lots of jangle, lots of harmony vocals). Plus, I would have preferred the drummer to have used a ride cymbal for most of the song instead of an open hi-hat (but then it might end up sounding too much like a Teenage Fanclub song). Now, I’m fully aware that you make the music that you want to make, and you record things how you want to record them. So feel free to disregard any of the above comments as you see fit. (A brief “What does he know?” will put me in my place.) By the way, I liked the chord at 3:20.
2. “Different Now”
Despite my usual misgivings about that particular drum beat (I’ve never been a fan of it), I thought it suited the song. And I liked the song. But – here I go again with unwanted production suggestions – I would have liked to hear the mellotron much louder (that is a mellotron buried in the mix, isn’t it?). But I liked the song. (And I liked the song’s very casual ending.) By the way, the vocal melody at the beginning of the verses reminded me of Lennon/McCartney’s “From A Window”).
3. “Girl City”
A nicely demented little introduction with the guitar. I like the guitar backing in the verses, and I like the guitar line in the chorus. (It reminded me a little of XTC’s “Generals And Majors”) Nice jingle bell thingy you used, too. The key change was fun. Rather than ending the song as you did, I would have preferred a fade-out. But: it’s your song, so you decide what you want to do with it.
4. “Like A Hurricane”
I wasn’t especially keen on this song, although I liked the noisy guitar. The vocals put me off a little (they were a bit too nasal for my liking – they sounded as if they were trying to be ‘punk’, like The Clash). But it only went three minutes, so it wasn’t a painful experience.
I liked this. It sounded like you were going for a post-punk feel with the drums and guitar (it sounded post-punk to me). However, I didn’t quite see the point of the vocals constantly moving around in the mix. (Maybe you wanted it to be disorientating for the listener.) But I liked the song. (I think I already mentioned that.)
6. “And I Want”
I thought this song was OK (didn’t love it, didn’t hate it). I can imagine a garage band doing this (I reckon it’d sound great played by a garage band). I liked the bass sound.
7. “Metal Guru”
[On the Pop Dollys website but not at ReverbNation]
A mighty good song (T-Rex – yay!), played well. A minor criticism: the guitar at the start sounded slightly sharp, which I found bothersome (but not much). Another minor criticism: I wouldn’t have minded all the guitars brought right up in the mix. For me, this song demands to have guitars, guitars, guitars!
And that’s pretty much what I said to Mike all that time ago.
By the way, when I first saw the name of the band (“Pop Dollys”), I thought it said the “Polyps”. Sorry about that, too, Mike.
(*I told Mike three months ago that I’d put his band’s music on the blog. As far as I’m concerned, three months is inexcusable. Inexcusable!)