New York Dolls, 'Cause I Sez So' (Atco/Rhino)

Critical Mass
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by Steve Kandell

Is it too glib to say the Dolls are experiencing a personality crisis? Ur-frontman David Johansen and guitarist Sylvain Sylvain's 2006 "reunion" album -- in quotes because three of the five original members are dead -- was a pleasant enough surprise. But quickly following that curtain call with another, thus doubling the size of the band's catalog, begs that the music be judged on its own merit rather than on sheer sentimentality, And Sez So doesn't particularly benefit from the brighter light. It's all fun and harmless garage blooze -- the bottom-heavy slow-burn "My World" is a standout -- but it's ultimately as trifling as their '73 debut was essential.

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