Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

October 8, 2012

New York Dolls ~ Cause I Sez So

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: hard rock, punk rock
Label: Rhino
Year: 2009
Home: New York City, New York

Members: David Johansen ~ vocals
Sylvain Sylvain, Steve Conte ~ guitar/b. vocals
Brian Delaney ~ drums
Sami Yaff ~ bass

Let's be honest. Okay, maybe its the iconic frontman & one of the guitarists from the NYD, but this is not the NYD. If it is ... they're having a mid-life personality crisis. The original NYC were noisy cross-dressing punks & druggies. Good luck finding that here. Former Hanoi Rocks bassist Sami Yaffa once told me that frontman David Johansen doesn't want to over-rehearse the group so they always retain some roughness, but this doesn't hide the fact the music is just too much put together, carefully composed & far less chaotic than the NYD ever were. The title track & about two other tracks are actually pretty good in terms of the old NYD style of crashing punk guitars. But, then things steer to a country rock/folk mode with "Better Than" & listeners are promptly given the memo that this quasi-reunion is not staying in one place musically ... nor any of the places you've come to expect from the NYD. The reunion NYD are laying out a new set of expectations for you to follow, that's the key. The 70's are gone & it's too late to cry, so deal with it & move on is the message. There's no way we can go back. NYD are now presenting us, in their move forward, with a cornucopia that goes from spanish/western tinged music ("Temptation To Exist") to electric folk rock (i.e. "Lonely So Long") to blues ("Ridiculous") to a reggae re-interpretation of "Trash", to an ambitious array of musical tinklings including the experimental acoustic soundscape "Making Rain" that ironically reminds me of something Hanoi Rocks were trying to reach for on their final album. Johansen not wanting to be tied down as a composer is admirable ... but they really should change their name as this is not the NYD. It's not an embarressing reunion in the least & quite interesting, let alone far more diverse than the NYD were ever able to be before, but it sounds more like Johansen & company are paying tribute to the bands & the musical styles they enjoy rather than trying to uncover anything in their own past. Though, with the loss of the unstable Johnny Thunders maybe there is no true way to uncover their own past & maybe they feel it's not even worth it to try to do anything but casually nod. If one considers Johansen's 80's alter ego of Buster Poindexter ... certainly Johansen has shown himself more than just a punk screamer & there's no reason he would want to return now ... if not just a plain old master of musical disguise. In terms of creativity the troupe can't be faulted, in terms of recreating the NYD for a new generation not even close. The nail is over here ... why are you over there? Okay, that's not really right. There is going to be a new generation that will enjoy this, certainly, but to dig back in time will be a shock & old fans are probably not sticking around long for this reunion. This is the music of a diversified NYC, not a CBGB NYC gutter ballet. Of note, Todd Rundgren produced their 1973 debut & returns to help their return. At least they got that right.

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