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Dolls On Fire Moves Toward Cohesion

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Zach Hodson of Dolls on Fire says that when he and band co-founder Rachel Jaggard began writing material for the band a few years ago, their influences were far-flung and that it showed in the group’s music, especially on the debut recording, Ladies and Gentlemen …. Hodson’s influences were mostly in the early rock of the ’50s and ‘60s, while Jaggard’s were more diverse.

“Rachel comes from more of a show tunes and really pop, Jpop and stuff like that, almost an electronica background," he says. "So, in those original recordings, what became our first album, Ladies and Gentlemen … , there was a definite focus to really try and combine her electronica sense with her more straightforward pop/rock sense.”

For the group’s upcoming release, due in December, Hodson and Jaggard began pooling their energies in a more cohesive, unified direction.

“This record turned into more … big aggressive guitars and more, really aggressive, buzzy synthesizers," he says. "We’ve always had lots of vocal harmonies but this record especially, just aggressive spastic vocal harmonies and as much energy as we can put into three-and-a-half minutes of music.”

And that attention to high-energy music came in part because of the band’s desire to put on the most energetic and entertaining live show possible.

“It should be energetic," Hodson says. "It shouldn’t be something where you sit in your chair at the back and look at the band on stage who are all onstage, their heads not moving, stepping on 19 different pedals. There’s a place for that kind of music. It’s really good, I’m not trying to bag on it. But for us it’s really about, ‘It should be loud, it should be energetic, people should want to sing with you, they should want to laugh with you, they should definitely want to dance with you.”

You can see Dolls on Fire Friday evening at John Barleycorn’s with Diviner.

Jedd Beaudoin is host/producer of the nationally syndicated program Strange Currency. He has also served as an arts reporter, a producer of A Musical Life and a founding member of the KMUW Movie Club. As a music journalist, his work has appeared in Pop Matters, Vox, No Depression and Keyboard Magazine.