Get Ready For The 60 Foot Dolls

Their awesome debut hits U. S. record stores today.

Here at Addicted To Noise world headquarters, we sort of like the fact that the

Welsh trio 60 Foot Dolls fell well short of "Next Big Thing" status in Britain

(although their drab steeltown home of Newport, Wales did get the "next

Seattle" nod from a Dec. SPIN story on the hot Welsh rock scene).

Modest hit singles, an average amount of hype, a so-so selling debut

album, The Big 3 (released in England last summer, in the U.S. today)

and a sound that's thankfully shaggier and refreshingly sloppier than their

Brit Pop peers, the Dolls are that rare combination of punk, pop and dirty

white soul that sounds so invigorating the moment you hear it you can almost

remember the chorus mid-way through the next song.

The lead-off track,

"Happy Shopper," bolts off with a Clash-like drum roll and air-raid guitar

before dropping into a nice clip "we're so bored" tale of evil commerce and

working class woe. Half the time, singer/guitarist Richard Parfitt doesn't so

much sing the band's three minute disaffection anthems so much as squeeze them

out between the bulging veins in his neck, while struggling, and to these ears,

sometimes failing to find the right notes on his guitar. He and bassist Mike

Cole pound, flail and wail together so earnestly, though, on songs like the

strident "Loser," you might find yourself nodding in joyful agreement when

Parfitt spits "don't you know that everyone loves a loser/standing up and

falling apart."

"Pig Valentine" (produced by Mekon Jon Langford) bridges

an unholy marriage between The Alarm and Generation X (the Billy Idol band, not

the marketing concept) by dredging up pop music that's a little too

rambunctious and loose to be top 40 mind candy, with a typically spastic solo

by Parfitt and a bashing, trashing bottom supplied by drummer Carl Bevan. It's

not pretty ("Crashing out and killing time/ Feeling like a stupid child/ Build

it up and paint it blue"), but even on skiffle-like songs like the first single

"Stay," where the band bring to mind those foggy images of the pill-stoked

Beatles crunching out tunes on a tiny Hamburg stage, with a heavier backbeat

and over-the-top guitar solos, the Dolls honor their predecessors while

side-stepping the rote photocopying of so many Brit Poppers.


Records pushed back the release of the Dolls' debut from last summer because

they feared a new, energetic band like this might get lost in the shuffle of

superstar releases by R.E.M., Pearl Jam and U2 (who also got pushed back), but

given the Low Budget-era Kinks sound of songs like "Talk to Me" and the

commercially disappointing returns on those "big" releases, maybe the good

old-fashioned rock these boys play is just what the doctor ordered.


Dolls will start their first U.S. tour in mid-Feb. on the East Coast and have

finished work on the video for "Stay," directed by Lance Bangs, who created the

on-stage films for R.E.M.'s last tour.