The post-Bowling For Soup world of all-American bubblegum pop-punk is one that hasn’t garnered much more of a reputation than being a gimmick, or a throwaway faction of a much larger genre. Regardless, there’s still a coterie of acts representing the label, with Los Angeles’ The Dollyrots being not exactly popular, but one of the more recognisable names in the scene. Listening to new EP Mama’s Gonna Knock You Out is enough to see why – The Dollyrots are quirky, and they’ll be damned if you don’t know that by the end.
Instrumentally, everything’s fairly adequate – the type of pop-rock that’s just getting its teeth that Avril Lavigne would’ve favoured on her earlier material. It’s really in the vocal department where The Dollyrots stand out, but not in the best way. Kelly Ogden’s vocal contributions are just so, so saccharine, and while it all of sort of works on bratty opener Save Me, Little Medusa feels needlessly childish in its jibes, and Sweaty Hug My Love is almost painfully sugary and overly wacky with its pointless organ stabs.
It’s quite the blessing that Mama’s Gonna Knock You Out is only three tracks long. On this EP, The Dollyrots sound so self-aware that what they’re doing is so over-polished and toothache-inducing that they’ve kind of just gone with it. It’s the sort of thing that could drive someone to madness if stretched across an entire full-length, so the fact that this selection of new material is only condensed over a mercifully brief time frame (the whole thing falls under ten minutes) is at least some sort of plus point.
It’s not enough to save Mama’s Gonna Knock You Out though. As a soundtrack to virtually any early-2000s Hilary Duff or Lindsay Lohan film, it would at least fit in somewhere, but taken as a standalone entity, it just feels too sickly to really glean much enjoyment out of. There are definitely parts that hit with a punch, but, unlike the title suggests, there nothing that’s any sort of knockout.
For fans of: The Muffs, Damone, The Donnas
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Mama’s Gonna Knock You Out’ by The Dollyrots is released on 29th January.