R E V I E W
The Dolby Brothers; ‘The Nightclub Scene’, ‘Supermarket Stories’ and ‘Radio Dolby 89.6FM’
By Ian Duggan
How to describe ‘The Dolby Brothers’?
The Dolby Brothers are a mysterious duo who have released three concept albums to date - ‘The Nightclub Scene’ in October 2021, followed by ‘Supermarket Stories’ in December, and most recently ‘Radio Dolby 89.6FM’ last month. But their Bandcamp doesn’t give a lot away about them. To break a little of the mystery, however, one I know was a member of a band popular from the Waikato University scene in the early 1990s. Don’t expect any indie pop songs here though.
The sound of the Dolby Brothers is probably best described, as their Bandcamp tag suggests, as ‘experimental electronic’. A touchstone, perhaps, is the early disco infused French synth band ‘Space’, but with a little added inspiration from ‘elevator musak’. The lyrics, though, are observational, which at my age makes ‘Supermarket Blues’ resonate far more strongly than ‘The Nightclub Scene’ – a regular chore versus a now distant memory. The opening track, of that EP, ‘I Shop Alone’, provides a good example of the lyrics that will unite introverted or focused supermarket shoppers everywhere:
“I need to get the supermarket shopping done real quick;
I want to get out of here as fast as I can;
My wife has written the list;
This is going to be easy.”
….only for the shopper, Dylan Dolby, to run into Denise from work and then another acquaintance who wants to chat about the rugby, while poor Dylan is just wanting to get the shopping done in peace. The lyrics are delivered as a mix of spoken and sung, and I’m going to have to go with William Shatner here as the most relatable comparison for vocal style. The newest of the releases, ‘Radio Dolby 89.6FM’, is the music associated with a mockumentary-style podcast recorded by the duo, based on the broadcasts of Radio Dolby 89.6 FM, “a fictional radio station based in Dolby city, a dystopian post-apocalyptic metropolis”. On this, which can be found on Spotify, “Dylan and Drew Dolby host a late night radio show featuring music, street interviews and talk back calls from the eclectic residents of Dolby city”.
To hear more, check out the releases on Bandcamp, and other good online musical outlets.