The title of the new New York Dolls album, One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This (Roadrunner), could be a paraphrase of that line, as Johansen and Sylvain are both honoring departed friends and playing the hand they’ve been dealt. Not that what they’ve come up with is lacking. One Day is a wonderful, exuberant hard-rock album. The former anarchy that defined the band’s sound is here sharpened, focused. And so is its meaning.
Whether the songs here are the loose-limbed rockers that allow for Johansen’s clowning (“Runnin’ Around,” “Gotta Get Away from Tommy”) or the ballads he sings in chest-deep tones and invests with soul-deep warmth, the Dolls’ commitment to their glam-trash æsthetic has remained, and deepened. What the original Dolls celebrated in both their sound (which archived bits of forgotten and remembered rock history) and their look (vintage-store drag turned into gutter chic) was the freedom New York offered them to define themselves. But it’s one thing to live a life in the margins as young men and another to have kept that commitment into middle age. The new album doesn’t explode with the recklessness of the Dolls’ seminal recordings, but the joy in it comes from a deeper place. And every bit of it has been earned.
NEW YORK DOLLS | Axis, 13 Lansdowne St, Boston | November 20 | 617.228.6000
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