If you are one of those people that hates Valentine’s Day, Cleveland-raised Dolfish has given you one reason to look forward to the love struck holiday: the release of his debut album. Yes, Dolfish (aka Max Sollisch) is releasing the appropriately titled Your Love is Bummin’ Me Out on Mon 2/14 under the Irish label Indiecater. (Catch him performing @ the Beachland on Fri 1/14.) His style is difficult to label, but I’m going with lo-fi garage pop. This could be the album that Wheatus (Teenage Dirtbag) considered releasing.
Within each of the five songs, altogether totaling 8.1 minutes, Dolfish puts vocals as the focal point. The drums and guitar follow simple sequences, almost in a manner to prevent getting further attention, as if they’re there solely to support Sollisch’s singing. Which brings me to the question… what is he singing about? The lyrics are clever yet haphazard. “There must be oil in this heart of mine, cause you’ve been digging since the day that we met. If anything I do is worth a dime… then I’d spend it.” Whether the songs are serious or not, I can’t tell you. “Oil In This Heart” is the most serious of the songs, but still drops lines that make you question whether the song’s 2 minutes and 26 seconds is mocking someone or is about a heartbreak. The songs are anecdotal, making it very difficult to avoid listening to every word.
Despite the nebulous purpose of the songs, they are entirely enjoyable. Sollisch’s voice has a very distinct sound with a whiny twang. Neil Young made it work, and I’m not complaining about it. What stands out the most is the originality of the songs. “Hey you two in the same side of the booth, pickin’ out spinach from your lover’s tooth; your love is bumming me out,” sings Sollisch, who later references love as a “big, fluorescent mushroom cloud.” His songs give away his age (22 years old), and with a pop culture reference to Dashboard Confessional, you wouldn’t doubt this. With songs ranging from :46 seconds to nearly two and a half minutes long, the album is not much of a time investment. As this is his first release, it remains unclear as to whether or not future releases will include bolder instrumental pieces or longer play time. With the addition of either or both, Dolfish is something to watch.
With songs of love, lack of love, brushing teeth, thumb wars, and digitizing love letters, you’re bound to relate to something on Your Love is Bummin’ Me Out.
Although the CD comes out Mon 2/14, you get the exclusive chance to stop by the Beachland Ballroom on Fri 1/14 to gauge his live performance and invest in his debut album. Dolfish will be accompanied by fellow Ohioans the Floorwalkers, All Comers, and Tinamou.