I generally find that a band with an ironically funny name means one of two things; the first being the band brings a rather comical presence to their music such as is the case on the low end with a band like Pavement or on the high end a band like Ween. The second thing is that the band is simply looking for people to find their name ironically funny, become curious about their band, and then gather fans to their music.
After listening to the first six-song EP Dolly Spartans, the eponymous demo EP from the New York City post punk revivalist four-piece Dolly Spartans, I am leaning towards the latter reason as to why Dolly Spartans chose their name, because they are not a funny band, at least not that I noticed, and the name seems rather out of place for a band that plays ‘60s era blues-punk which inspired so many early English rockers, which was then in the early ‘00s revamped and called garage rock, or garage punk, as The Strokes, perhaps best known as that short lived revolutions leaders, were categorized as.
If Dolly Spartans were a solo EP, which in this case it technically is because front man Michael Eliran wrote all six songs and played all the instruments himself, I think I would have perhaps praised it more, due in fact to the ever bourgeoning pool of one-man/one-woman acts out there who it seems put more effort into aggrandizing themselves through their bio’s and cover art, and sound as though they spend or have spent little to no time practicing their craft. Though Eliran definitely has, and his musical talent shouldn’t go unmentioned.
So wherein does the problem lie with Dolly Spartans EP? Well ironically enough the first track “Who Are You” was a question I was asking myself in reference to Dolly Spartans after the first spin of the EP. This tune is definitely power-pop in the vein of Vampire weekend. Then there’s the near perfect rendering of The Strokes on the perfect and polished rocker, “She’s Got Treasures,” a song just as good as any that came out of that garage rock revival era.
Later, on “Don’t Be Sad” they return to the softer pop verses and then revert to a sort of poppy surf-punk reminiscent of bands like Harlem and even a little bit of The Kinks. The closer “Tell Me” is slow and melodic and bursting with layers of guitars and crashing cymbals, and ends with a sudden tape slowdown, the same sound ironically enough which opens The Strokes debut Is This It? Coincidence? I think not.
Taken as a whole, Dolly Spartans is a classic first recording by a young band heavily influenced by the top floating pop and rock acts of the last 50 years. And don’t get me wrong; I strongly believe that influence, not just for music but also for any art, plays a key part in the relevant success of an artist. Though one must be careful with influence and use it as such, a model though not a mirror.
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