The second I first heard “Wicked Ones” by DOROTHY I knew this band was something special. This was two years ago when the Los Angeles rock outfit was quietly releasing a few singles. I say ‘quietly’ with a healthy dose of irony as DOROTHY is anything but (the band name being in all caps isn’t a typo). DOROTHY is loud, triumphant, confident arena rock at its absolute finest and ROCKISDEAD is not an album to be missed.
There’s a good chance you’ve heard a DOROTHY song before and just haven’t been able to put a name to the band. DOROTHY songs have been featured on Pretty Little Liars, Orange Is The New Black, and even the DLC trailer for Tom Clancy’s The Division. I first discovered her on a Spotify Discover Weekly playlist (credit where credit is due). Their first EP came out in 2014 and it’s clear that they’ve been noticed. Two years later, their debut ROCKISDEAD hits with all the fuzz and thunder you’d hope for.
DOROTHY includes lead singer Dorothy Martin, Zac Morris on drums, DJ Black on guitar, and Gregg Cash on bass. Though the real star of the show is Martin. The confidence, raw talent, and attitude that allowed singers like Joan Jett, Pat Benetar, or Ann Wilson to shine decades ago runs strong in Martin today. Martin’s vocals give DOROTHY modern interpretation of a classic sound.
Martin’s an incredible lead whose voice will shake many an arena in the future. She’s so confidently the heart and soul of these songs and is a force to be reckoned with. And that cannot be understated. Her persona in the songs takes no shit, gives no fucks, and will get down and dirty with the rest of them. That is how Martin differentiates herself from modern contemporaries such as ZZ Ward, Gin Wigmore, or Elle King. Martin’s from a similar school of thought to modern non-shit-taking female performers. But where the others might go for sass, Martin chooses confrontation instead.
Despite that, there is nothing presumptuous or cocky about Martin. She’s just pure talent. Martin has stated that she’s flirted with many other styles of music and even sang opera at one point. Unfortunately, it was her father’s untimely passing that helped her find her voice and become the powerhouse frontwoman of DOROTHY.
And there’s more depth on ROCKISDEAD than one might immediately expect. DOROTHY is hard-rock that would fill the halls of a grungy biker bar on the surface, but Martin injects some blues, country, and swamp rock into the proceedings as well. Most songs on the album have a fuzz that will remind you of listening to Led Zeppelin on your parent’s turntable as a kid.
There is something on ROCKISDEAD for everyone. “Whiskey Fever” is a thumping ode to that brown liquor while “Woman” is very obviously about an ex-boyfriend. “Gun In My Hand” fuses country into the mix. My personal favorite, “Missile” would be my walk-up song were I a pro-baseball player. “Raise Hell” is a modern anthem for all the troublemakers of the world. And more.
If there is a shortcoming on ROCKISDEAD, it would be that the depth of what DOROTHY can do out isn’t explored quite enough. Most of what they deliver here is crowd-pleasing stadium rock, but it can blend together at times. Hopefully in the future, DOROTHY gets to do interesting things and expand their sound with more of the country and blues that they hint at here.
That being said, this is 35 minutes of fiery whiskey that will kick your ass, leave you amped, and have you begging for more. ROCKISDEAD’s eleven tracks prove the album’s title to be dead wrong.