Album Review: Painted Doll – Self-Titled

According to Painted Doll co-founder, Dave Hill, “The Painted Doll record was a blast to make.”

That’s good to hear, because the Painted Doll record is a blast to listen to; a modern day Monkees-esque act with light-hearted, pop-driven rock in the vein of ’60s era bowl cuts and Ed Sullivan. The self-titled debut features a beach/pop rock atmosphere that calls back to the original era of rock without any irony or self-indulgence. It’s almost like Ghost without the overt, gimmick driven metal sheen laid atop the pop-rock foundation.

Painted Doll shifts between pangs of light-hearted punk, a la Social Distortion, with acoustic-driven guitar pop. The opening track ‘Together Alone’, one of the highlights of the record, has serious Blue Oyster Cult vibes going on. That’s the kind of music Painted Doll puts together, unapologetic and un-ironic pop rock that reaffirms its own purpose by the integrity and quality of the music within. You don’t get the sense that these guys are playing around loosely with this (now) niche formula for giggles, this album is serious business. Of course it’s fun, but most importantly, it’s taken with a respect for the genre.

This is a seriously phenomenal record. It’s emotionally engaging, it’s energizing, it subverts expectations in the best way possible, and brings fresh life to an aged genre. It isn’t surprising to see that Painted Doll was formed by the hands of legendary metal musician Chris Reifert (Autopsy), given the intensity behind the energy of Painted Doll. There’s a sense of undeniable strength and energy within the record, courtesy of Reifert’s death metal upbringing.

This isn’t to say that there’s a death metal aspect to the record, yet knowing the metal influences of the record adds a sense of “but of course” to Painted Doll. This kind of style and energy doesn’t come from pop-rock without an injection of metal or heavy rock sensibilities. On the other hand, you have comedian/musician Dave Hill meshing his obsession with ’70s styled British psych-pop with Reifert’s heavy metal persona.

Despite two different worlds coming together for Painted Doll it doesn’t feel like a mash-up, it doesn’t even feel like they’re trying. It’s so organic, so smooth, you would have assumed Painted Doll has been together for years perfecting their acoustic-pop rock craft. This isn’t even a “best of both worlds” type record; it is purely and solely a pop-rock record.

The ingenuity behind its formation isn’t really something that can be explained by words, no matter how hard it is tried. You can try dissecting this record to pinpoint which musical elements are derived from what source, but at the end of the day the intentions of Reifert and Hill’s collaboration sits solely in a pop-rock throne. There’s no cute shifting of metal elements or attempts to draw a novelty into the acoustic-pop with metal tones.

The self-titled debut by Painted Doll revives ancient psych-pop with modern strength. Two minds from two different worlds of music come together to create a record that pays tribute to music of decades past by reintroducing it into a modern stage.

– by Ryan Falla

Rating: 9/10

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Record Label: Tee Pee
Release Date: February 16 2018

Track Listing:
01. Together Alone (2:56)
02. Carousel (2:29)
03. Hidden Hand (2:47)
04. Dressing Room (3:41)
05. Painted Doll (4:35)
06. Eclipse (3:06)
07. She Talks to Mirrors (3:40)
08. Stairwell (2:24)
09. Find Your Mind (2:50)
10. I Put a Spell on You (3:16)

Total Duration: 31:46

Painted Doll links: facebook | instagram

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