Dolly Spartans – Time Sides With No One

New York has always been a hot bed for garage rock, noise pop, and punk bands. Having given us The Strokes, The Ramones, Vivian Girls, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Sonic Youth to name a few. Recently a boom of indie music has taken over and has given us Vampire Weekend, Grizzly Bear, and The Antlers. This evolution has led to a rift in the already crowded New York music scene, making it harder to stand out. Dolly Spartans however have found a great sound by combining the famous New York garage rock sound and the ever-popular indie-pop choruses that dominate the festival scene. With a sound that can really only be described as Garage Pop Dolly Spartans has released a really strong sophomore EP in Time Sides With No One.

Dolly Spartans are Michael Eliran, Jesse Barovick, Steven Bartashev, and Max Beirne-Shafer. Time Sides With No One adds some much needed texture to the bands sound. Their prior self-titled release was a fun, energetic, and simple album. With lyrics that mainly focused on relationships that were backed by a sound that jumped all over the place. “Who Are You” resembled a song that could easily have been a mainstay in the 60’s era of pop. While “We’ll Say That For Now” resembles the crunch and tempo of the Arctic Monkeys’ Favourite Worst Nightmare and even a bit of The Strokes’ musical structure. Their arrangements were still lacking to an extent, granted it was their first album, but it worked. However they have grown and improved tremendously with this new release.

Time Sides With No One sees Dolly Spartans finally create their own sound. While it can be called Garage Pop it feels to be something more than that. The simple lyrical structure is still existent, but the content and substance of those lyrics has greatly improved.

 

It’s been a while since I got sleep

But Sunday nights, they don’t come cheap

I lay awake until I have no other promises to keep

 

It’s in the stars, it’s in my head

Don’t want no rivers running red

And on the surface it will only twist and turn

It will only twist and turn

It seems I’m never gonna learn

 

These are the first two verses off the first track from Time Sides With No One “When the Wheels Stopped Moving.” Not only is this the perfect track to start with, but it is also a perfect example of the simple yet complex lyrics. By only ever alluding to the details of the situation, Eliran is delivering a narrative through subtext. This is further continued in the chorus.

 

That when the wheels stopped moving I was gonna let you burn

When the wheels stopped moving I was gonna let you

I was gonna let you burn

And when the wheels stopped moving, I was gonna take my turn

When the wheels stopped moving I was gonna let you

I was gonna let you, I was gonna let you

 

Again, a narrative that is never handed to you that and instead lets you fill in your own details. The lyrics also have the simplistic nature of pop songs, making them extremely The arrangement of the song is also masterfully done. The bright guitars contrast beautifully with the rough and raspy voice Eliran giving the track some much needed texture. Usually texture is done with crunchy guitar riffs, synths, or really anything else. Using Eliran’s voice as texture is such a simple yet well-executed technique shows just how much the band has matured. The same goes for the entire musical arrangement. The brightness of one guitar contrasts perfectly with the crunch of another. The bass is a work horse not only providing a solid grove in many tracks, but even being the star on a few. The way they highlight certain guitar riffs, verses, bass lines, and drum patterns shows this band isn’t all about one instrument. Instead it shows how all of these instruments come together to create one sound, not multiple different sounds.

While the album can be said to sound like a melding of The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, and Vampire Weekend that doesn’t do this album justice. Yes many will make these comparisons, but with how well this album has been arranged Dolly Spartans solidify their unique sound. It’s a sound that marries the two different types of New York. The dark and brooding garage scene and the bright and infectious indie pop scene. An album with this much cross-genre appeal won’t be underground forever and it doesn’t deserve to be. Dolly Spartans are going to be a band to watch in 2017.

By: Carlos Rodriguez

Written by Music Director

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