Saturday, July 13, 2013

Doll-The Rag Doll Diaries

Cargo Records

Formed in 2005, and not to be confused with the old London punk rock/new wave band named "The Doll", Ottawa-based Doll are a female-fronted alternative rock and roll band. This 11-track album, which originally saw the light of day back in late November of 2011, was meet with critical and commercial praise with units moving at a steady pace in not only their native country, but here in the U.S. as well. This was no doubt a result of Doll spending 2012 on the road. With several tours having taken place across Canada and then numerous appearances being made at such festivals as Ottawa Bluesfest, IndieWeek Canada, NXNE, and D-Tox Rockfest it was almost inevitable that Doll would become a break-out group. The band even managed to bring their own blend of punk-fueled heavy rock and roll to America which translated into even more copies being sold of this particular album. With reviews popping up in magazines such as Revolver and Outburn, and again with all the road shows that Doll had put on, new fans from across the globe eagerly went looking to buy the album. Sticker shock set in though when people went to pick up what was then an import-only recording. Thanks to Cargo Records "The Rag Doll Diaries" will now be released in the UK meaning no more ridiculous import prices for those seeking out this 4-piece act's sophomore album.

Recorded by Jason Jaknunas and mastered by David Cain, which has given the group the perfect canvas on which they were able to paint this work of art, the group's latest recording is the perfect follow-up to Doll's 2009 award-nominated debut album, "Inside The Dollhouse". Fronted by Christina Kasper, who also handles some of the guitar work, this Canadian act manages to carve out their own niche even as they draw from a host of different bands and artists. Taking center stage among those influences is a list of who's who from the heyday of alternative rock/power pop (The Breeders, Bikini Kill, Sonic Youth, Material Issue) and punk rock/grunge (L7, Veruca Salt, Babes In Toyland, 7Year Bitch, The Gits, Hole, Fastbacks) although one should be quick to point out that in Doll's capable hands the material in question rocks it's own pathway to greatness! With 3 separate guests handling bass duties (Alex Vance reportedly plays bass for the band in a live setting) the remaining band members Peter Kasper (guitars) and Nick Richer (drums) help complete this every man, back alley, rock-steady outfit. Listening to this album is like visiting with an old friend. As you sit there in conversation, and you revel in the warm feeling of beers having been tossed back over the course of the evening, it's with a feeling of openness that everything gets laid upon the table in front of you. Doll tackles it all in good spirits even when the topic at hand is one of frustration or even anger. Lead singer Christina Kasper doesn't hold back on her emotions as the group (highlighted by the gripping solos of Peter Kasper)  tangles itself in a beautiful arranged net of punk rock, alternative rock, heavy metal and grunge. There's few bands that can pull off this style of street-level rock and roll anymore without sounding terribly out of fashion and out of date. The danger in looking back for your rock instead of looking forward is that the music can often sound hollow and uninspired. Doll never seems to fall into that trap as their music is intensely personal and honest in the most raw way possible. "The Rag Doll Diaries" is the story of a road weary/world weary band with so much to say and share. Its the combination on heartache and despair offered with a hand meant for holding. In other words here is real music for the real world.

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