A while ago I heard that Cincinnati, Ohio’s the Dopamines were retiring some of their crowd favorite/”hit” songs. It’s understandable that a band tires of playing the same song every night on tour for years, and if you’re a smaller band, you’ve actually got the luxury of getting away with it (unlike big-time money-making professional acts that are obligated to please the crowd) so I don’t blame them for taking advantage of it. However, in the back of my mind I was thinking “With barely two albums out, do they really have enough great material to start nixing the old stuff?” After spinning Expect The Worst, their latest LP on Paper + Plastick, I can honesty respond, “What old stuff?”
The album contains more than enough bouncy beer-blast gems to satisfy both the east coast poppers and the midwest basement punkers. “Public Domain” and “3244” are # 1 hits with a bullet in a just world, but I dig the gravel and grit shoveled out in “My Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Night Vision Goggles.” All pistons firing with unrelenting vocals – reminds me of the lyrics and delivery of “survive yourself” Henry Rollins. Another great thing about the track (and “October 24th” as well) is the verses melodically spill out a whole, vivid, story’s worth of words, and the when the catchy and ALL TOGETHER NOW chorus hits you get energized by the sing-along and jolted by the obvious shift in gears. It’s a great feeling. Contemporaries like the Copyrights, whose harmony/unison vocals are a fairly good point of reference for the Dopes, follow a similar formula, but their sound seems brighter and lyrics more vague in comparison. The Dopamines bring the noise and funk(y odors), stubble, sweat, and all the other images one associates with authentic DIY punk rock.