Cleveland’s DOAKS debut album Scaredy Ghost was released towards the end of 2018 with a unique sound that was self described as “a punk rock B-52’s”. This comparison is not without merit, as they have a driving rhythm section, soaring female vocals combined with a grounding male vocal presence and a subtle synth-pop influence. Where they differ is that DOAKS has a darker more serious feel and drops the quirky nature of the B-52’s in favor of a heavier pop punk vibe.
“Total Nightmare” is the album opener and greets us with an ominous syncopated guitar with quiet vocals combo. This quickly expands into a bass and drum heavy pop punk jam with Chelsea’s soaring vocals laid on top. It is one of the catchiest songs on the album and just like a real nightmare it will haunt you when your done listening.
“I Just Want to Drink” follows with a bouncy punk rock blast about the annoying bar culture that interferes with the ability to simply go out and have a drink. From here on out the album steers away from the punk side, not with a reckless abandon but there is a change in the influences and styles as we progress.
The first distinctly different song is “Not a Whore” which opens with a synthetic drum sound and droning lyric delivery. It has a slower, slightly more minimalistic Shiny Toy Guns feel where the music is on the sludgey side and the vocals bounce back and forth between rumbling and soaring. The original comparison to the B-52’s is at its highest with “You Don’t Love Me Anymore” a synth driven jam where Jeremy’s vocals are at the front and Chelsea’s floats ambiently above it. It is heavier and darker but kicks off with a bright keyboard lick.
DOAKS showcases their ability to write some indie rock gems with songs like “I Gotta Go”, “I Must Be a Fool” and “Because I Said So” all of which feature some catchy hooks and are super danceable. However the pinnacle of their indie stylings is the album closer “Waiting All My Lifetime” which has distorted guitars playing with a heavy bass line and the vocals fade in and out creating a sound that is reminiscent of early 90’s Garbage.
Scaredy Ghost is an intriguing listen as they pull influences from a wide variety of styles. This keeps the album from getting stale with repeat listens as there is always something that will catch your ear and either make you dance or grab a beer and chill. DOAKS have promised us new music in 2019 and I am definitely looking forward to more.