So who needs a New York Dolls record from an emaciated David Johansen, a pudgy Syl Sylvain, and three or four able studio guys half their ages here in 2006 - a full generation removed even from the post-Dolls late-70s era that I (and a few regulars on this blog) enjoyed in punked-out and grimy New York?
Me, it turns out.
The title of the new Johansen epic (and it really is a Johansen record, be not doubtful) is ironic about the state of irony, like a double mirror in the barber shop showing the back of your head to infinity. No doubt Johansen got a chuckle from this official record company promo copy:
Now in 2006, the band returns with the follow-up to 1974's Too Much Too Soon that proves that the band hasn’t lost a step and that they are ready to show the world what they've been missing. The new studio album "One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This" captures the spirit of a band that had disappeared long before rock n roll became about big business, and presents the essence of fun, revelatory Rock N Roll in its purest form.
A follow-up to Too Much, Too Soon? Now that's a scream. Hasn't lost a step? Perhaps not, but it's lost four regular players to death, most importantly Johnny Thunders, who created a guitar sound imitated by thousands, and most tragically Arthur "Killer" Kane, the bassist who came back for the reunion only to die almost immediately of leukemia.
So a return to form for the Dolls - no. More like a return to a certain type of artistry for Johansen. This "Dolls" record is closer in many ways to Johansen's first two post-Dolls classics - David Johansen and In Style. Like those late-70s outings, this record perfectly blends what has always fascinated Johansen - and which reached somewhat tighter arragements in his soloc career - a blend of Motown, Chicago blues, surf music, and girl band vocals. Think Bernadette meets Pipeline meets John Lee Hooker, add a touch of slouchy glam, and you've pretty much got it.
This record has a bunch of good tracks, some hilarious and emotional writing along the lines of Frenchette and Funky But Chic, and plenty of delivery. My fave is the rolling mid-tempo piano blues number I Ain’t Got Nothin', all crammed with regret but delivered with a sly wink. Irony about irony. And there's nothin more ironic than a new Dolls record, here in post-everything New York. Get it and you won't be sorry.
Previous Dolls-related posts for your reading pleasure: