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New York Dolls | 'Cause I Sez So

Atco (2009)
By JEFF TAMARKIN  |  April 28, 2009
4.0 4.0 Stars

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The big news regarding the New York Dolls’ second album since their reactivation five years ago is the return of Todd Rundgren as producer. Rundgren was behind the boards for their paradigm-shifting New York Dolls ’73 debut, and the group — whose sole still-breathing members from that first run are singer David Johansen and guitarist Sylvain Sylvain — were wise to offer him a rematch. Unlike 2006’s uneven One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This, ’Cause I Sez So (only the Dolls’ fourth studio album) is not faux retro, and neither does it overreach in order to speak to 2009. It’s just solid, classic Dolls, with all the swagger, muscle, righteous kitsch, and ballsy defiance you expect, plus some new twists.

Those would include a non-joky, quite charming, reggae — yes, reggae — remake of “Trash,” one of the centerpieces of that debut. And, to a lesser extent, “This Is Ridiculous,” as close to straight-ahead blues as this bunch have come (though Bo Diddley’s “Pills,” on the ’73 record, came pretty close too).

Popmeister Rundgren earns his paycheck just for “Better Than You”; it revisits Johansen’s affection for Brill Building pop, and so does the closing track, “Exorcism of Despair,” whose zippy “yeah, oh yeah, ah-hah” chorus cozies up to the screaming guitars of Sylvain and Steve Conte like lovers. Whatever reluctance the band may have felt about going back to the era of glam, they’re over it.
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  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Music Reviews,  More more >
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