It's never easy to recapture the success of a legendary band, but trying to recreate a supernova -- like the explosive but short-lived New York Dolls -- is all but impossible. This disc, for which original members David Johansen
and Sylvain Sylvain
have surrounded themselves with like-minded musicians weaned on the Dolls' two brilliant albums, does a remarkable job of doing just that -- not so much turning back the clock as picking up the pieces that made the original band so vital and reassembling them in a fashion that's both respectful and modern. Many of the songs here -- from the sassy, self-referential "Fishnets and Cigarettes" to the trashy R&B workout "Gimme Luv and Turn On the Lights" -- could easily have appeared on a follow-up released hot on the heels of Too Much Too Soon
. The cocksure glam-punk attitude -- a switchblade in one hand and a tube of mascara in the other -- is still evident on struts like "Runnin' Around" and "Gotta Get Away from Tommy." Then again, Johansen and Sylvain aren't operating under the impression that they've frozen time sufficiently to remain in their 20s -- as borne out by the fact that they cribbed the title from Virgil's Aeneid,
a work that, for whatever reason, hasn't been embraced by all that many garage-rockers over the years. That evolution is also reflected in the poignant but not sappy nature of ballads like "Maimed Happiness," one of several low-key tracks that showcase the warmth and depth of Johansen's baritone. Sometimes, you really can
go home again.