At 17 and 15, Gwendolyn and Lucy Giles are already so tough. I don’t want to say they’re wise beyond their years, because a lot of wisdom can be gleaned in 17. Having played together as Dog Party
since middle school, the sister duo have moved past the lighthearted romps of their first full-length, P.A.R.T.Y All Night,
on their third official release. Their Asian Man Records debut, Lost Control,
sees Dog Party start to adopt a maturity that balances excitement for the adult world with fear of it, all funneled into spritzy pop-punk that echoes the Soviettes, the Queers, and the Epoxies.
While P.A.R.T.Y All Night squirmed through a mosaic of lo-fi timbres, Lost Control refines Dog Party’s tone into a crisp and punchy power duo dynamic that stays sickly around the edges. Gwendolyn’s power chords chomp down somewhere between a squeak and a healthy crunch, a place that perfectly buoys the sisters’ vocal harmonies. Lucy caps her drums with foamy cymbals through bite-size thrashes like “Flamingo Go” and uneasy long-burners like “Lost Control” alike.
One-off tracks like “Jet Pack” and “Los Angeles” might suspend the kind of blasé innocence rooted in Dog Party’s earlier music, but “Best Friend” and “I Can’t Wait” demonstrate that these girls are already better than most at rolling with the turns life throws them. Through love and loss, the Giles’ play with a fierce yearning for independence. They’re not blind to the grittier side of the world around them, either; the record’s title track bubbles with the fear of an aggressor who’s lost his mind, like a pop-punk companion piece to Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control”. Dark currents run under this bubblegum, but Dog Party are already buckling down on all the life ahead of them. As they tell us in the closing track, they will be more than alright.
Essential Tracks: “Best Friend”, “I Can’t Wait”, and “Lost Control”