Dolly's two sides - Nashville schmaltz and old-timey bluegrass - duke it out here. Some of these covers are a bit over-the-top, but her simpler arrangements are deeply affecting. "The Cruel War" is a relic of the Civil War, but with youngsters still marching off to combat all these years later, it packs an emotional wallop. The fun part is how Dolly has the songwriters back as guest artists -- even Yusef "Cat Stevens" Islam, who is on Bush's terrorist watch list (seriously). Looks like Homeland Security better open a file on this dangerous country girl. --TED S. McGREGOR JR.
DIOS (MALOS) & lt;a href= & quot;http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=rQy1MLe70wI & amp;offerid=78941.463921645 & amp;type=10 & amp;subid= & quot; & Dios (Malos) & lt;/a & ** & r & If you like your pop on the bubble-gummy side, grab this disc, like, now-ish. On their second album, these sun-drenched tunesmiths from Hawthorne, Calif.. drip their saccharine sweetness on tracks like "I Want It All" (destined for The OC). But the more self-effacing "Feels Good Being Somebody" suggests the dangers of indulging too deeply on things sweet. If singer Joel Morales realizes that "I'm self-absorbed and I'm lazy," it's bound to generate those cavities in the soul. Unless he's being, like, ironic.
For all the noteworthy comparisons to other beach-y sounding bands, Dios (Malos) make engaging music. My only gripe: when you wear your heart on your sleeve and then wipe your nose, it's real easy to get your heart covered with snot. At some point, cute and clever just isn't enough.
Just don't tell that to tracks like "Grrrl ..." Gratuitous ellipsis aside, it's Ben Folds-breakup snarkiness that uses the word "sike" and means it. But really, there's nothing wrong with empty guitar pop ... right? -- CAREY MURPHY