When you think punk rock covers, one of the first songs that comes to mind probably isn’t Gilbert O’Sullivan’s 1972 melancholy ballad “Alone Again (Naturally).” In fact, incorporating punk and “Alone Again” might seem as unnatural and absurd as when Biz Markie sampled the tune for his 1991 hip-hop album, “I Need a Haircut” (the result was a copyright infringement case that went to the Supreme Court…but that’s another story). And yet, The Dollyrots are no strangers to covers, having paid tribute to Nirvana’s “Breed” and Joan Jet’s “Bad Reputation” amongst dozens of others.
This is the same band that did a flawless rendition of The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” on their debut album, “Eat My Heart Out.” So, when I heard the band recently released a single covering “Alone Again (Naturally),” I was dubious but optimistic. As usual The Dollyrots have rocked and surpassed my expectations.
The band first got their start in Florida in the early 2000s. Although backing members have shifted throughout the years, at its core the group consists of husband and wife duo Kelly Ogden on bass and lead vocals, and Luis Cabezas on guitar and backing vocals. Although the band spent two decades as residents of Los Angeles, they moved back to Florida a few years ago. If you have missed them in SoCal in their absence, get ready to rejoice. The band is traveling back to California, and for a very good cause: they will play the benefit for Betty Cisneros of Go Betty Go for the Fight Betty Fight Benefit at the Paramount in Los Angeles on July 3rd.
The original Gilbert O’Sullivan ballad is a heartbreaking song that spans topics, such as plans of suicide following being jilted at the altar, and remarking about the death of his parents (both accounts being fictional). While not changing any of the lyrics, The Dollyrots have somehow shifted the entire mood energy of the song, transcending into a punk rock sing-along anthem, not unlike their earlier catchy pop punk goodness. Once again, The Dollyrots have proven a real knack for covering songs, even ones seemingly completely outside of their genre. From Ogden’s babydoll vocals to Cabezas’ interpretation of O’Sullivan’s piano to guitar, the whole thing comes together pretty fantastically.
The band’s cover is parried with the B-side “That’s Not Even All.” The synth pop punk tune is a celebratory love song and acts as a nice, cheery counterpart to the morose lyrics of “Alone Again.” Both are available via a 7” limited-edition pink vinyl released in partnership with indie label Cleopatra Records.
Following their one-off benefit show on July 3rd, the band flies back to do a tour of the East Coast and Midwest. But, fret not Southern California as they will return to the Paramount again in October, followed by a date at the Wayfarer in Costa Mesa.