New York Dolls, The Forum, London <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

Often, nothing disappoints like a comeback album, but not so One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This. Guest-starring Iggy Pop, among others, the New York Dolls' first set of all-new material in 30 years is at least as good as their 1973 debut. When the group performed on Tonight with Jonathan Ross three weeks ago, their front man David Johansen gave a masterclass in preening narcissism. Marc Bolan would have loved it.

Tonight, the band's trashy, hybrid sound has flushed out a menagerie of punks, cross-dressers and glam-rockers. "We've got a lot of good-looking chicks in the crowd," notes the guitarist Sylvain Sylvain, "and the boys are beautiful, too!"

Sylvain and Johansen are the only living members of the classic Dolls line-up, and to salute the band's back-catalogue is to salute the kind of hedonistic band-as-gang that always has its casualties. But they don't do wistful; even the nod to their late bandmate Johnny Thunders that is "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory" is delivered with a wink and a swagger.

A cartoonish beanpole with chutzpah enough to grind his pelvis at 56, Johansen is magnificent as he gesticulates his way through "Plenty of Music". The fruity harmonica he blows on "We're All In Love" makes it easy to view him as America's Mick Jagger, but he's his own man; a captivating singer in love with the Dolls' legacy as rebooted by new members Steve Conte (guitar), Brian Delaney (drums) and Sami Yaffa (bass). Conte is impressive, dipping into a bag of retooled Chuck Berry riffs and making the most of Sylvain's taut, chunky rhythm guitar.

"I've been reading about our influence," Johansen says, alluding to the spell the Dolls cast on the young Morrissey, The Sex Pistols and others, "but a huge influence on us was Janis Joplin" - and they launch into a raucous and soulful "Take Another Little Piece of My Heart", Sylvain, Conte and Delaney crowding around one mic to sing backing vocals.

The home straight finds the Dolls plundering their trash-with-panache back-catalogue. "Jet Boy" and "Personality Crisis" have all their sleazy, roughshod charm, but there's no hiding it; Sylvain and Johansen have learnt how to play. "I'm so happy," says the singer, with a huge grin, "that I'm in such a great rock'n'roll band." On this evidence, you'd have to agree.