The Dollfins were recently asked by GQ magazine what their ideal gig would be like. The answer: “dirty little bar in New York, audience of drunk people” and it is into exactly this space that their self-titled debut effort, which drips with ego, sex and rock and roll, takes the listener.

The Cape Town-based trio hits the punk-rock scene with what is essentially the perfect soundtrack to a night out, where hedonistic drunken sex affairs in dark corners with mysterious strangers is the name of the game.

Most of the tracks are sparse, guitar-driven numbers with relentless, intoxicating beats and seductive vocals: think Black Keys meets Tegan and Sara.

Lyrics like “I’ll find a place for you and me, where the darkness will be ever sweet, and everywhere we look is either a villain or a crook” from the mesmerising song, “Everyone Makes the Wrong Decisions”, exemplifies the band’s attitude: The Dollfins are all about quirky-edgy, dirty-sexy energy.

Listening to the album is like being in a Frank Miller version of Alice in Wonderland.

The band describes their influences as “hate, sex, hatesex. Oozing toxic green slime”, a perfect example of their weird, idiosyncratic charm. But in reality, the 1970s punk-rock band The Cramps, which is regarded as one of the forbearers of genres like garage punk and psychobilly, seems to be The Dollfins main influence. Indeed, they create a seamless, if slightly sinsiter marriage of these genres.

The band is quite fond of taking a single line and repeating it throughout their songs, rarely breaking the monotony of these refrains with a limited selection of lyrics. On songs like “In My Head”, which has a haunting beat and power, it works. But on other tracks, most notably “Friendly”, it becomes tedious, creating unfortunate moments of boredom on an otherwise incredible album.

“Kiss Me Quick”, a fun track providing brief respite from the darkness, and “Road Trip”, a full-on assault of wicked sensuality, are highlights.

Ultimately, the album leaves you with the feeling that The Dollf?ins don’t really give a damn about anything: they condescend to let you into their wild world of seduction, destruction, grit and self-indulgence. And for the most part, it’s a pleasure to be there.

The Dollfins will be performing in Pretoria at Park Acoustics, 30 September.

RATING: 7/10



“In My Head” music video
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