Written by: Jen Dan
(To order Time Sides With No One on Bandcamp click here:)
NYC-based indie rock/garage pop band Dolly Spartans may have an amusing name, but its members have had to endure some tough times that reflect in the bittersweet nature of some of the song lyrics on recent second EP Time Sides with No One.
The EP was released at the end of March via the Blue and Lucky record label. Michael Eliran (vocals, guitar), Jesse Barovick (guitar), Max Beirne-Shafer (bass), and Steven Bartashev (drums, percussion) deliver a sonically stirring, yet lyrically reflective set of tunes.
Dolly Spartans bowed in 2014 with its debut self-titled EP, but between then and this new record, the band’s original guitarist, Christopher Elmer, tragically died of a drug overdose. His passing sent the other band members reeling and they decided to deal with their loss through their music.
EP-opener “When the Wheels Stopped Moving” is awash in bright guitar distortion and bashed drums and cymbals. Eliran emotes earnestly, singing clearly, but passionately the hopeless lines, “There is nothing left to say / It doesn’t matter anyway.”
Kicky indie rocker “Hanging Out” is founded on friendship lyrics-wise with Eliran confessing, “…hard as I may try / you always seem to pry / my deepest thoughts right open / then make your way inside.” A dynamic and rubbery bass line, wiry guitar agitation, and jumping drum beat follow Eliran’s complex thoughts.
Driving indie rock number “I Hear the Dead” bursts right out of the gate, amped up even further than “Hanging Out”, roiling with churning to chiming guitar lines, deep bass line tug, rapidly shaken percussion, and propulsive drum strikes. On the chorus section Eliran reveals plainly that, “I hear the dead talk to me.”
The Jeff Buckley-like opening of “It’s Not Easy” features Eliran’s tremulous, higher register vocals as he softly sings about his tumultuous emotions, imploring, “I try hard to justify / It’s not easy.” amid acoustic guitar strokes. This segment quickly segues into a punk-fueled explosion with Eliran dramatically exclaiming, “I just start to lose my mind.” and “I try hard to stay alive.” as a running bass line, plunging and charging guitars, and a pronounced drum beat ride by.
The title track rolls speedily along with a fast drum beat, burnished guitar chime, and low bass line. Eliran pushes his words out and upwards, declaring, “I’ve given up a lot to be myself.” He’s showing the vulnerable and real side of himself, and the band, through the lyrics of this song. He reveals that he doesn’t want to “pretend I’m strong” in the face of tragedy, but to deal with experiences, good, bad, and in between, as his true self.
Dolly Spartans has pledged that all proceeds from the EP will go to The American Civil Liberties Union which protects human and civil rights. The band decided on this when seeing the ACLU in action before this past US Presidential election. The band’s stand is more relevant than ever due to the deleterious outcome of that election.
Find out more about Dolly Spartans