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Dolly Rockers
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The best pop music happens during the worst of times. The upside to a depressing recession, global conflict and five year-olds mugging you for your mobile, is the return of music that’s bright (in both senses of the word), brash, slightly deranged but irresistibly catchy. We believe the big papers are calling it ‘wonky pop’. The Dolly Rockers themselves would probably call what they do ‘drunk disco’, but we’re not sure that’ll catch on.
Three girls who are as likely to snog you as happy-slap you, Dolly Rockers belong to the generation who want pop back on their own terms. A generation who make no distinction between Spice Girls ‘Wannabe’ and Blur’s ‘Girls & Boys’; both classic and defining pop records that, in their own way, said everything to you about your life, but with a tune you could sing when you got pissed with your mates.
Sophie (20 years old, northern, tiny): “We don’t feel we have much in common with manufactured girl bands. Pop music to us is Arctic Monkeys, Lily Allen, Mark Ronson…”
Lucie (20 years old, southern, insomniac): “I loved Blur and Pulp when I was younger. At the time it was called ‘indie’, but it really was just pop music.”
Brooke (20 years old, northern, lairy): “The Spice Girls were great too. I hate bands that are just clones or puppets, who do what they’re told. I like bands that are outspoken.”
Musically, Dolly Rockers pilfer from the past with glorious, post-mashup, pre-clubbing anthems with enormous, instantly hooking choruses (and a healthy amount of amazing, whizzing electro noises.) Lyrically, Dolly Rockers take on ‘orange girls’, the z-listers and the WAGs, on songs littered with chips, energy drinks and the frustrations of living at home. All topped off with a very knowing take on pop music from the last 30 years – Human League to Funboy Three, Depeche Mode to Propaganda, Spice Girls to Shampoo; Dolly Rockers are the perfect distillation of intelligence and fun for this gloom-laden world. A modern-day Bananarama when they were scruffy drunks, giggling on Saturday morning kids TV and not giving a fuck… before they became a gay cabaret affair.
The band have no time for fillers or soppy ballads. ‘Je Suis Une Dolly’ is their in-yer-face, tongue-in-cheek theme tune (though we’re not sure whose cheek). ‘Gold Digger’ is an inspired collision of Kid Creole and Tom Tom Club with a vicious lyric about the kind of girl who’s all “refurb tits and turned up nose”. ‘How Did I End Up With You’ tackles domestic abuse and falling for married men. And ‘North Vs South’ is a roaring celebration of the Midlands (no really), updating the Britpop blueprint with a song that sounds like Alex Turner’s kid sisters.
There’s no room for the fake American accents that other girlbands sing in. The Dolly Rockers are a celebration of Britishness in all its regional glory; blunt, honest and bullshit-free…
Sophie: “I went to of one of the roughest schools in Leeds. I knew if I stayed I’d just be hanging round the same places with the same people for the rest of my life.”
Lucie: “I went to a posh boarding school but was expelled when I was 14 because I passed out in assembly. It was from the night before so technically I wasn’t drunk at school. But I didn’t want to become a snob so it’s a good thing they kicked me out.”
Brooke: “You see, we’re only young so we’ve not got any heartbreak stories to tell you, we’ve just got stories about nights out in pubs.”
Lucie: “And we sing in our own accents because we’re singing about our own lives. Our songs aren’t about love, more about snogging. We write songs about the things that happen to us and the things we talk about.”
But isn’t it inevitable that when Dolly Rockers become successful, they’ll all end up in gossip mags with footballer boyfriends and cosmetic surgery?
Brooke: “We hate glamour models. It’s unnecessary and makes girls look cheap. No footballers! That’ll be a t-shirt slogan for Dolly Rockers.”
Sophie: “Listen to our songs. ‘Champagne Shirley’ is about girls like Jodie Marsh: “She thinks she’s fit with her new fake tits & her liposuction / She hires limousines making massive scenes just to go the pub in”.
Lucie: “I don’t like boobs. I think girls look nicer when they have no boobs. And nowadays, you can be famous for falling out of Chinawhite, drunk. We don’t want to be celebrities, it’s meaningless. But maybe it’s changing. Maybe people who actually do something can be stars again.”
The Dolly Rockers aren’t some media-trained, goodie-goodie, won’t-put-a-foot-wrong bunch of stage-school starlets sitting on the conveyor belt of processed pop. There’s no Disney-schmaltz or slick svengali at work here. Dolly Rockers are reality writ large and unashamed, telling it like it is and ready to fight for their right to be heard. They’ve come to kick the world of pop, glamour and celebrity firmly where it hurts and then gleefully jump up and down on it in cheap stilletos. Forget Gucci and Chanel, this is Primark pop and council chaos… as they sing on ‘Champagne Shirley’:
“She comes from Hull but she talks like the queen / She wears haute couture, what the fuck does that mean ?!…
She says she works in Selfridges, head of the clothes department / but we’ve seen her on the tills in Home & Bargain”
The Dolly Rockers aren’t doing things in a conventional manner – currently in the midst of a tour of shopping malls, they’ll soon be playing Butlins before touring schools (God help us!), gay clubs and meat-markets. But alongside that they’ll be putting on shows in the likes of Hoxton Bar and Grill and titillating the cool crowd with their knowing, hard-edged club-aware pop music. The Doll Revolution starts here!
First single ‘Je Suis Une Dolly’ comes out on July 20th. Second single? Take your pick from this sampler – they’re all pop smashes. Dolly Rockers’ debut album will be out later this year.
Check out for the jaw-dropping video the girls shot themselves for ‘Je Suis Une Dolly’ last summer. And see if you can work out which enormous mobile company ripped it off wholesale for an ad campaign a couple of months later. The Dolly Rockers are still spitting feathers about it… mainly ‘cos they didn’t get paid.
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