Fast, feisty and powerful, Doll Skin come at you with attitude. It wasn’t always this way; their debut EP was pretty uninspiring and it wasn’t until first album ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’ they hit their stride. On latest release ‘Love Is Dead And We Killed Her’ you really feel their intensity, but they haven’t quite captured their previous record’s magic.
Opening like a lawnmower, ‘Don’t Cross My Path’ churns through dirty riffs, pop choruses and powerful growls. It’s assured and their attitude is on full display. In fact, on songs like ‘Ink Stains’ when you get a dose of AC/DC riffing, howling singing and a tonne of guitar abuse during the outro, it’s great. Especially as the album has a rough edge.
Recorded with Mike Green and Will McCoy, everything sounds like it’s been stripped down in bleach and when they go hard, it’s damned effective. However, the band can’t resist bubble-gum Avril Lavigne pop-rock singalongs. No bad thing in theory, but they don’t fit well at all. Notably, the chorus to ‘Outta My Mind’ sounds pasted on and feels false. Similarly, ‘No Fear’ struggles with a laidback schmaltzy style.
Lead vocalist Sydney Dolezal has a stunning, powerful voice. She sells every song by finding great big hooks in every line she sings. There’s no doubt they can write a massive chorus, just listen to ‘Empty House’, it’s huge. Lyrically, there are some great turns of phrase too and you can imagine the brilliant refrain on ‘Your Idols Are Dying’ being yelled back in a live setting. Unfortunately, not every song shares this momentum. Despite trying her hardest to get her hooks into you, Dolezal comes across as declawed.
At its best ‘Love Is Dead And We Killed Her’ is anthemic and feisty with a side order of riffs. You’ll have no trouble being hooked in by the heart and bite of the vocals. Ultimately though, it’s like a huge fudge sundae, full of goodies but somehow it doesn’t quite satisfy.
‘Love Is Dead And We Killed Her’ by Doll Skin is released on 28th June on Hopeless Records.
Words by Ian Kenworthy (@WhisperingSand)