Tales Of InterestRad Girlfriend Records
By Cole Faulkner
The Dopamines latest full length, Tales of Interest, picks up where the Cincinatti, Ohio pop-punk quartet left off five years ago. The band traditionally fits in best with bands like The Methadones, House Boat, and The Copyrights, but this time around adds a bit more of an aggressive edge to their songs. Tales Of Interest seems to have picked up elements of Dear Landlord and Direct Hit! in that The Dopamines are definitely leaning more heavily towards a subtle hardcore influence. It’s the type of minor tweaking that a band can get away with while fan’s memories are foggy from an extended studio absence.
Tales of Interest’s basic formula is regularly one where abrasion intersects melodic pop-punk convention. Tracks like “The King of Swilling, Pt. I, II, III” and “Open Letter” feature intermittent segments of heavy screeching chords and slow rough vocal belting, while “083133” goes all in for an entire track of angular chords and hardcore vocals. This stylistic deviation is not the album’s norm and fits strategically with the track listing, but certainly flavours The Dopamines’ overall feel at this point in their career. That being said, the more ‘classic’ offerings continue to dominate the majority of the fourteen songs. “Expect the Worst,” which lifts its title from The Dopamine’s album of the same name, harkens back to the melodic execution of their seminal release. Others like “Heartbeaten by the Police,” “Ire,” and “Everybody Dies” assume the place of easy to digest pop-punk ditties with plenty of layered vocals and repetitive choruses. The inclusion of a more familiar approach amidst Tales of Interest’s audible risk-taking serves as a great point of balance allowing the band to try something new without neglecting the sound upon which they built their reputation.
Tales of Interest may not quite be what fans were expecting from The Dopamines’ return, but it still feels very much like a Dopamines album. Even so, the quartet uphold their reputation for quick paced pop-punk propelled by a seemingly unending well of enthusiasm. Overall, Tales Of Interest should fit well within pop-punk playlists of both returning fans and newcomers alike.