It’s always great to see reunited, influential bands plying their trade. Well, it usually is. But new albums by classic bands are dicey affairs. Following up a milestone album is onus enough for bands that have never broken up, even. But I’m an eternal optimist. And being a Dolls fanatic I wanted to like this, really.
So the Two York Dolls—David Johansen, Syl Sylvain, and a carload of hired guns—are back with a second post-reunion effort, Cause I Sez So, produced by Todd Rundgren, who also produced the band’s 1973 self-titled debut. I guess it’s not that bad. The band is in something of a double-bind. If new material sounds too much like the old stuff they’ll be accused of trying to recreate their youth; if it’s too laid back, they’ll be accused of sounding, well, old. Cause I Sez So falls more or less into the second category.
A raucous, Stones-ish title tracks kicks the album off in high gear, but the returns diminish after that. The Dolls’ jalopy immediately loses momentum and continues slowing until the album’s close. Johansen and crew deliver bluesy, mid-tempo-to-slow numbers that aren’t so bad, I suppose, but just aren’t worthy of being classified as addenda to the 1970s Dolls canon. I can’t fault these guys for wanting to record new material, but the album shouldn’t have been billed as the New York freakin’ Dolls.