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New York Dolls

'Cause I Sez So (ATCO / Rhino)

Reviewed by Marc Savlov, Fri., May 8, 2009

Phases & Stages

New York Dolls

'Cause I Sez So (Atco/Rhino)

The New York Dolls were always a numbers racket, prepunk movers of their seedy CBGB Revlon anti-scene, slopping out greasy bucketfuls of blues-inflected trash rock. And then there were two: David Johansen's howlin' wolfishness and Sylvain Sylvain's dirty boulevard guitars, here both beaded and salty with an audible sheen of East Village sweat courtesy of 1973 debut producer Todd Rundgren's immaculately filthy production. Long shots this winning are rare, but 'Cause I Sez So pays off in spades. The titular opener Thunders out of the gate, raising Kane with lippy aplomb before exploding into the one-two TKO of "Muddy Bones" and the plaintive pop and Brill-iant schmaltz of "Lonely So Long." The mussy swagger of "This Is Ridiculous" is anything but; Johansen's mouthy yowl remains junkie-lean, while Steve Conte's roadhouse guitar bobs in an amber ocean of Old Grandad. Some may question the reggae-fication of classic "Trash," but the spliffy do-over is, quite simply, a masterstroke, a surprising summer staple long overdue, just like the Dolls 36 years on. (The New York Dolls pack Emo's, Friday, June 5.)

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