SA Rock Digest #145, 4th March 2002
It's been seven years since the Dolly Rockers released their self-titled debut full album which produced the singles, 'Suicide Annie', 'Book I Write', 'Walk Right Through Me' and 'Halfway Up The Wall'. The Dolly Rockers were formed back in 1990 by Greg Donnelly (vocals) with Anthony Bull (bass), Stuart Crawford-Browne (guitar) and Arnold Vermaak (drums). It was this line-up that recorded the earlier 'Consume Me' EP (which was only released on vinyl) and which produced the single 'Heart Hits The Ground'. The EP was produced by Pitchie Rommelaere, who replaced Crawford-Browne on guitar in the band's line-up.
A nation-wide tour, and unreleased 2nd album followed, before the band temporarily disbanded and Donnelly went on to form Waxy O'Connor. Then in 2001, what began as a Greg Donnelly solo album project, soon turned into a Dolly Rockers reunion album with Pitchie Rommelaere on guitar (and producing) and Anthony Bull returning on bass.
The new album, 'Glory Glory', was recorded at The Peak Studios, now in
Glynn Street in Gardens, and is on the Huh? Records label. It is a much
darker affair than the pop-tinged debut, with elements of country and
dark pop. It was mastered in Boston at M-Works, where, while it was
playing, one of the engineers present exclaimed, "Is this the new Swans
album?" A fair comment!
SA Rock Digest Issue #146, 11th March 2002
Taking their name from an obscure Syd Barrett song from 1970, The Dolly Rockers new release 'Glory Glory', doesn't really sound like Syd (or Pink Floyd), but that spirit of experimentation is echoed (pun intended) here.
Best described as Dark-Pop, this CD is growing on me after each listen. Lead singer Greg Donnelly has a distinctive and pleasant voice, which is perfectly suited to this style of music (or maybe the music chose him?). This album, released 7 years after their debut (which included 'The Book I Write'), features mainly slowly picked electric guitars (not a riff in sight), gentle drums, subtle bass and intriguing lyrics - so it's true then; quiet is the new loud.
Favourite tracks so far (and I'm sure there will be more): 'Sleepytown', 'Race past the sun' and 'Change The World'.
-- Brian Currin
SA Rock Digest Issue #166, 12 August 2002
The mad one out of Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett sang a song called 'Dolly Rocker'. The song was about a dress of the same name which was fashionable around that time. I'm not sure whether South Africa's Dolly Rockers are named after Syd or the dress, but one thing's for sure, they don't do things Barrett Fashion.
'Glory Glory' is the sound of thousands of teenage boys sitting in their bedrooms, trying to come to terms with the transition from lighty-hood into manhood and all the angst and pain that brings. However this is done through adult eyes and therefore has the advantage of being more measured and slick.
This is not a happy album. Titles like 'Consume Me', 'Pain' and 'Kissing the Coroner' tell you that before the laser touches the disc. It opens with an ominous Jaws Theme type sound warning you to tread with caution. This gives way to a hollow guitar and imploring vocal which is maintained throughout the album with the instrumentation being sparse, with mournful, sometimes broody guitars, while Greg Donnelly's vocals range from aching and edgy to grizzly and gravelly.
Despite this, there are also some uplifting moments. 'Change the World' and 'Oh My God' have more of a lilt to them while the title track is triumphant without the celebration. 'Sleepytown' borders on being full on rock with some heavier guitar and faster pace.
This sounds like the record a lot of the 80's indie bands were trying to make, but none seemed to succeed with. It's sort of a gothic Smiths album, measured jangling guitars, somewhat ethereal with a bit of Bauhaus darkness thrown in for good measure. It has what those 80's albums lacked - slick production and a polished sheen. Despite this 80's comparison, it does not sound dated, and feels like it can bear the label 'timeless', although only time can tell on that front.
-- John Samson