New York Dolls - Dancing Backward in High Heels
The Dolls have released more albums since their 2004 reunion than in their '70s run, and it's clear they're unwilling to live in the past. Dancing Backward explores soul and classic '60s pop; undertones present then but mostly drowned in ironic, decadent rumble. The latest sounds like a collaboration between David Johansen and his lounge lizard alter-ego Buster Poindexter. Johansen's ragged rasp is limited for soul and pop, but succeeds on its spunky showmanship. Other changes: Gone are former Hanoi Rocks bassist Sami Yaffa and lead guitarist Steve Conte, whose loss is particularly noteworthy since not everyone can fill the late Johnny Thunders' shoes; former Blondie guitarist Frank Infante's just not in the same class. Louis XIV's Jason Hill takes over on bass and produces the album (he's also credited for string arrangements, and does a fine job of bringing out the warm, hook-ripe sound). Among the highlights are the hard-grooving Johansen remake "Funky But Chic," with its riff and backing vocals, and the sunny bossa nova-pop of "Streetcake." But those hoping for trashy glam will be disappointed.