(Asian Man Records)
[September 2015, a high school somewhere in Sacramento] “What did you do over summer vacation?” You did a tour with your band? Wow, I just crocheted at my grandma’s house.”
Dog Party is Gwendolyn and Lucy Giles. They’re sisters that have been bopping out compulsively hooky albums since 2008 when they were pre-teens. Vol. 4 as you might guess, is their fourth release—and it’s the strongest yet. They can’t just be viewed as novelty due to their ages (17 and 19, respectively). By these ages The Runaways were dominating the scene and Silverchair were touring the world. They needn’t be pampered for their age.
Thankfully, these sibs have a very strong set of pop chops. Whether they were in their late teens, late twenties, or a batch of moms raging on the weekends—this album is fun. Vol. 4 rides the wave of many predecessors where 50s rock and roll and bubblegum punk crash gracefully. “Operation #2” has a rhythm so tight to “Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment” that you’d consider these the lost daughters of Joey Ramone himself. Oohs, aahs, and whoas fill many downbeats, prompting a pogo plunge that also reminds us of Kepi Ghoulie being an influential mentor to these budding musicians.
“Peanut Butter Dream” is the standout single. With an incredibly catchy “Pinhead” beat and bending choruses it could play on repeat across summer airwaves for hours and yield no complaints. Tracks like “Be My Friend” reinhabit the soul of 1980s Julie Brown, snotty as hell and mimicking SoCal vibes with a scoff akin to scratching nails on a blackboard. And just as Local H (also a 2-person outfit) mastered; Gwen’s distortion-laden chords growl through many tracks to add fuzzy depth. “Forget” digs into this tuned down grumble best with bummer lyrics of busted romance to echo the aesthetic.
So forget the crochet cracks, Vol. 4 finds Gwen and Lucy coming of age. While the album is full of apparent influences, it’s certainly carrying its own weight. (Scott Murry)