Girls with guitars. What does your brain conjure when you read that? The Bangles? Go Go’s? Josie and the Pussycats? Well somewhere between the Runaways and Kittie you’ll find Doll Skin. All-female bands have historically carried the baggage of being a novelty. And sometimes for good reason. That does seem to be changing somewhat and that’s a good thing. I still imagine it has to be awkward for an all-girl band starting out. Especially one as young as Doll Skin (average age is just under 17). I say that because as a man I know how disgusting some of my gender can be toward women. Even more so when you narrow that to band managers/mentors. The stories of Kim Fowley’s questionable behavior with the Runaways is stuff you could make a movie about. (wink, wink) But let’s assume anyone working with these girls has been nothing but professional and talk about the band and the record.
Doll Skin formed in 2013. Judging by their age’s I’m guessing late 2013. They all met at something called the Scottsdale School of Rock. They initially came together to compete in the Rock Revelation Battle of the Bands where Megadeth bassist (and fellow Minnesotan) Dave Ellefson was among the judges. Sometime after that the prodigal son of Jackson, MN took the girls of Doll Skin under his wing and released their debut EP on his own EMP records. Coming out late October 2015, In Your Face is a collection of six quit hitting tracks of what some are calling Glitter Rock.
The band is made up of singer Sydney Dolezal, guitarist Alex Snowden, bassist Nicole Rich and drummer Meghan Herring. Their bio says they are young, pretty and dangerous. Regardless any band with a female singer faces the task of standing out in a pack. That truly unique voice is hard to find among female singers of any genre. And such is the case here. Sydney is a very good singer. But she’s not an instantly recognizable voice. But she is only 15. While that means I will not be sending her a friend request on Facebook anytime soon, it also means she is just getting started. Voices grow as we do. They change as we use them. Let’s see what she sounds like in 5 years. To the record!
I like the name Doll Skin. Not sure why, but I think it’s cool. But the record title In Your Face is a little played out. No matter. The opening track “Family of Strangers” is OK. A little lackluster. Cool title but it doesn’t do much for me. It’s the second track “Wring Me Out” that really grabs me. It comes across almost beyond what you expect. When I hear a new band I listen for that something that makes you think the best is coming. This song does that for me. The next song “Let’s Be Honest” more than borrows from the Donnas. It’s not a bad song, though. “Blind” is a slower rocker that leans heavy on harmonies with an almost early Motley Crue guitar rhythm. “So Much Nothing” starts similar to the opening track. It’s a little better, though. I have to confess I’m having a hard time taking the lyrics sincerely as they are just so young. I don’t think it’s fair to penalize them for youth but just like I don’t believe it when a 65-year-old Gene Simmons sings about banging groupies I’m just not believing these lyrics either. I’m not sure I’m supposed to. The record ends with a song called “Weatherman” which is pretty killer. And live. Of all the songs this is the one most likely to end up in the car. Over the three days, I’ve been digesting this record, this is the song I keep coming back to. Well done ladies.
The production is good and they sound like a band. While some of the lyrics may seem beyond their years they don’t sound like a random collection of four kids at music school. As a cohesive unit, they are convincing. Should you buy it? I can think worse things to do with 6 bucks. It’s not easy doing what they are doing. You should definitely give it a listen and see if it’s your kind of thing. It’s an EP. And it’s good. Good enough that I look forward to hearing what they do next and I’m very intrigued to see them live. Young bands particularly can show you a lot about what they are about when they perform. If nothing else, join me in keeping your eye out for tour dates coming to your town. If you do choose to buy it make sure to use the Amazon link on the main page and if you like it let me know. You can find out more about Arizona’s Doll Skin by clicking any of the links below.