Man, this legendary bogan pop from Dollar Bar is sweeter than a cooked kangaroo steak at 3 in the morning (that’s what people outside of a 20 kilometre radius of the Sydney and Melbourne CBD’s do right?). Dollar Bar are like the lost love child of the Go-Betweens, the baby that came from a one night stand with the cracked out corpse of Archers of Loaf. The old-school references make sense because Dollar Bar are actually a 90’s band in disguise, ‘Paddington Workers Club’ being their sophomore studio release, following on from a debut record in 2004. So, the Guided By Voices influences are a lot less weary and understandable than a couple of the bands that have been popping up lately, 18 year olds that sound like they just sucked Robert Pollard’s dick after a ‘The Bears For Lunch’ session, as opposed to actually growing up with the band and their contemporaries.
Anyway, ‘Paddington Workers Club’ is a fine, cohesive record that wears the words ‘slacker’ and ‘guitar’ on its sleeve like a Superchunk fan wears a homemade iron-on patch of the album artwork ‘Heavy Pocky For Kitty’ on their denim jacket. The songs on the record whisk and wallow, waxing an everyman poetry about really average, relatable shit. ‘(You’re) Blind Baby’, adopts an acoustic doo-woop barbershop quartet vibe that’s been hijacked by a mad scientist way into acoustic surfer rock, and has settled into ‘my girlfriend sucks’ paradigm. ‘We Won the War’ gets a really loud Weezer vibe, earnest, simplistic lyrics (I keep hoping you’re next to me/finally I’l be in ecstasy) that are bolstered with a brash, pop-punk vibe that is catchy as all fuck. And standout track ‘Diff’rent 4 Gurls’ is like if that downtrodden guy from the beginning of ‘Undone (The Sweater Song)‘ got way into Marcy Playground, and then decided to write a song musing about the shitty double standards of gender-equality.
With these tracks and the whole shit-tonne of GBV and other semi-seminal 90’s-influenced stuff on ‘Paddington Workers Club’, Dollar Bar have come back pretty fucking strong. Finally, you can throw out that Afghan Whigs record you’ve kept for God knows how long, because Dollar Bar can replace that shit pronto. Not only are the songs better and contain more dark, dejected humour than a Ben Folds Five best-of, the fact is that Dollar Bar make really nice music to jam along to.
You can buy the record now at Dollar Bar’s Bandcamp for $8, or less than half of a McDonald’s Family Meal. You can catch Dollar Bar (and you should, because who knows when they’ll be back) at Petersham Bowlos on the 22nd of November.