This is a bit of a departure from what I normally cover here at DMiNB. This is my first non-Iowa act I have ever reviewed here. Now to some this may not seem like a problem. Dolfish is from Ohio, and I know to a lot of people on the coasts, Ohio and Iowa are the same place. But, that sort of simple reasoning isn’t the why I have chosen this one. Max Sollisch, the singer songwriter who performers solo as Dolfish, has quite the Iowa pedigree behind him. So, from here on out, Dolfish is Iowa.
On his debut album with Afternoon Records, Sollisch enlisted the help of Iowa legends Chris Ford of Christopher the Conquered and Patrick Tape Fleming of Poison Control Center to record and produce his work, and thus an Iowa musician was created, whether he wanted it or not. Hey, as a guy who unfortunately claims the Cincinnati Bengals as his football team of choice, being from Iowa is way better than being from Ohio. I mean, it just has to be.
Now, I wouldn’t just gladly accept an outlander into this elite crew of artists actually from Iowa, however, Sollisch has written a beautiful and unique album that anyone would be happy to claim. The songwriting and the lyrics are beautiful and personal, yet easy to follow and easy to understand album that speaks to fans of folk, country and coffeehouse rock, and also people who follow personal reflections and poetry. (Pearl Jam fans may not like it much, however.)
The thing that separates this album the most is Sollisch’s unique voice. His vocal style is hard for me to really put into words. It is whiny, yet not annoying. I’m sure some would find it unpleasant, but there is so much honesty to his lyrics and his style, that the unconventional vocal styling really adds to the whole package. There is a familiarity to it that I honestly haven’t been able to place. For some reason I keep going back to The Monkees, but that just seems ridiculous. Or maybe like Arlo Guthrie, but that seems inaccurate, too. However, the nasally approach kind of fits into that sixties pop/folk style and, despite the familiarity, adds to the personalization of the material. On a contemporary level, I think the closest comparison would be The Mountain Goats (another Iowa band, sorta!) and that is rare company to be with.
This is a cool album that will likely slip under a lot of people’s radar. I hope people give it an honest chance because this is as honest an album as you can come across. From the lyrics to the style, it seems uniquely Dolfish, and that in an of itself is worthy of a listen.
Try Not To Miss Shows – 11/29 – 12/5
Christopher the Conquered, Dolfish and Gloom Balloon – 11/30 Vaudeville Mews 930pm
Hey, whatta ya know. Three acts I just mentioned are all playing a show together. Almost as if I planned it that way.
Bonnie Finken and the Collective, Peace Love and Stuff and Rae and the Honeybees – Gas Lamp 11/30 9pm
Some of my favorite female fronted acts all together on one stage. All three are fairly electic, so this is a show for everyone.
Mint w/ Holy White Hounds and Diamonds For Eyes – 12/1 Wooly’s
This is good stuff. I feel like Holy White Hounds haven’t played in forever, so you should really go check them out. Maybe I’m wrong, but you should still see them.