I won’t say anything as hyperbolic as that the Dwarves invented rock ‘n’ roll, but I’ll still give them another borderline statement that fits on a press sheet: the 2014 Dwarves are a supergroup—not a supergroup side project of glossy mag pin-ups, but a supergroup that is honestly comprised of, well, Dwarves. While always performing as a 3-5 piece band (I think), they’ve had so many members over the years it’s hard to count. And why should you, except that most of them keep returning for another piece of the recording pie. The band that wrote and plays on The Dwarves Invented Rock & Roll is not the band you’ll see live. It’s become a living, breathing swarm of miscreants, 3-5 of whom will grace a stage near you.
With a new album from the band, the question is usually “how is it different” these days. The band has done trash-punk, pop-punk, industrio-punk, rap-punk, you name it. When it comes to Invented Rock & Roll, it fits well with 2011’s The Dwarves Are Born Again. It’s poppy in spirit and pretty straight forward (minus) the experimental touches, with a few heavier songs in the mix, which does wonders for the sequencing and pacing as a whole. There’s a gloss to the songs and it fits well with their post-reunion catalog. In fact, the record continues their recent trend toward writing music so clean that it’s almost confusing to hear it in contrast to the lyrics. In keeping up other traditions (reuse), the band recycles the monkey intro from “Evil Primeval” at the start of “Armegeddon Party,” and there is another Blag themed tune, “Gentlemen Blag,” though I would argue it’s follow-up “Irresistable” is more in tune with his braggadocio.
And then comes the dirty.
Every record has at least one song where, on first listen, all I can say in, “Jesus!” and shake my head. This time it’s the “I treat objects like women,” piece in “Love Is Fiction” and a similar moment in “Get Up and Get High.” Later, “Sluts of the USA” is the catchiest thing since herpes, and the classic sounding “Trailer Trash” mixes juvenile crass humor with wittier wordplay, referring to the title character(s) as a “junkyard Juliet” and piling on the love song “Oooh ooohs” over the top. It’s well written pop that’s still too dirty for cable (and too over the top for NC-17). Song 1 may be titled “Hate Rock,” but this is a love letter to the format.
Invented Rock & Roll is another record that meets expectations—a hell of an achievement for a band on full-length #10(?). The Dwarves continues to revel in their eternal youth and soiled dreams. The only real downside to the record is the, well, touchy lyrics that aren’t for everyone—but at this point in the game, it’s listener beware. Otherwise, some of the backing vocals are a little rough and detract a little, as in “Love Is Fiction” and “Gentleman Blag.”
7.9 / 10
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