JJ Doll: S/T 7"

Katorga Works Records

$7.00

Rising from the ashes of Ivy, NYC’s JJ Doll has taken the already-excellent cult 80s USHC formula of their progenitor and distilled it into the perfect hardcore punk sound. With sibling band Kaleidoscope highlighting his most freaky playing, guitarist Shiva provides the Doll with his most catchy and, dare I say, pleasing guitar work to-date. As such, JJ Doll has proven themselves to be one of the best new American punk bands.

Our take: By now everyone probably knows that JJ Doll is a reshuffled version of Ivy, slimming down to a four-piece and with former guitarist Sara moving over to vocals. What you might not know is that JJ Doll are miles better than Ivy. I always liked Ivy, but man... this JJ Doll 7" is easily one of my favorite things of 2016 so far. First of all, it's amazing how accomplished Sara's vocals are. I don't know if she's ever sang for a band before, but her vocals are both very authoritative and incredibly inventive. While she's very much in a hardcore-oriented speak/sing style, she has all of these little lilts and weird accents that are totally unexpected and add a whole other layer of melodic and rhythmic texture to the music. As for the music, it's also perfectly realized. Shiva (who, in addition to Ivy and JJ Doll, also plays/played in Deformity and Kaleidoscope) is a great guitarist, and there's a lot more room for him to shine in JJ Doll... I definitely didn't think so at the time, but maybe the density of Ivy's two-guitar sound kind of crowded him out? Further, the songs themselves feel dense with ideas without coming off as belabored or overworked. It's a difficult balance to achieve, and you can see from the off-the-cuff elegance of the cover artwork that it's a balance that JJ Doll excel at striking. Like I said, one of the best and most vital releases of 2016 so far... highly recommended.
Tags: 10s female-fronted hardcore punk recommended