When Melissa Brooks formed The Aquadolls 10 years ago, it served as an outlet for her
to channel her angst. In high school, she was bullied by her peers, and music served as
a therapeutic way to express herself in a positive way. Though she initially aspired to be
the next Lady Gaga, Brooks found her way into rock music for outsiders
Following the formation of the bedroom project, Brooks — who serves as the band’s
primary singer, songwriter and guitarist — released the ‘Free’ EP in 2012 and her debut
album, ‘Stoked on You’ in 2013. After cycling through musicians, Brooks joined forces
with bassist Keilah Nina and drummer Jacqueline Proctor and things fell into place. The
trio released their sophomore album, ‘The Dream and Deception,’ in 2018.
Once their current lineup solidified around the release of ‘The Dream and Deception’,
the Aquadolls made serious moves. They’ve performed with artists including Kate
Nash, Pennywise and Jimmy Eat World, and have featured on major festival lineups
like Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Warped Tour and a pair of appearances at
Eddie Vedder’s Ohana Festival.
The Los Angeles-based band have been spending the summer on the road with
Incubus and Sublime with Rome. Bigger things yet are looming large in the
The Aquadolls’ third album, ‘Charmed’ (which is named after the popular ‘90s/‘00s TV
show), is a natural progression for their discography. Don’t let the relatable tales
focused on love and relationships, heartbreak and longing for more fool you, the
Aquadolls still are about having fun and showcasing humor in their lyrics. ‘Charmed’
charts the growth in the Aquadolls’ sound, fusing elements of melodic ‘60s harmonies
and ‘90s-driven crunchiness with a modern twist that ushered in a new era for them,
and it serves as a strong representation of what they want to do.
For the first time on an album (after punk legend Fat Mike produced their three previous
singles), the trio relied on an outside producer. Chris Szczech’s (Goo Goo Dolls)
Zen-like figure brought a calmness to the trio as they knocked out each song.
The Aquadolls were in the studio on-and-off since the release of ‘The Dream and
Deception.’ The care and meticulous crafting of lyrics and music works seamlessly.
What started off as Brooks’ bedroom demos and loose ideas turned into nine songs.
‘Charmed’ is also the first time that the trio wrote as a unit, allowing the tracks to
blossom in the studio before transforming into fully fleshed-out songs that ended up on
‘Charmed’s’ first single, “Beachy,” is a prime example of the band’s songwriting growth.
Starting off as various guitar and drum loops with incoherent lyrics, “Beachy” emerged
as a powerhouse, vibe-y, reverb-drenched, twinkle of nostalgia tale that rejects longing
for someone and focuses on loving yourself first. “Sneaky,” another highlight, looks at the angst surrounding the uncertainty of a relationship combined with a sound that
channels the Breeders and Veruca Salt.
Even as the current edition of the Aquadolls continues to evolve, their signature sound
as a guitar-driven band remains the same. Armed with a continued desire to promote
their message of self-love and positivity, ‘Charmed’ is the perfect step forward.
Combining a cohesive sound with this message, the Aquadolls are comfortable growing
up with their audience — who view things through never perfect, Vaseline-tinged view of the world.