Dum Dum Girls
28 January 2014 (Subpop)
By Sophia Abbey
Dum Dum Girls started as an at home recording project, with few goals and no clear musical theme. Although they are still developing their sound, there are definitely clear influences, going back to 70s New Wave punk, some 90s girl grunge, and even current beach rock and dream pop. The sound on “Too True” is a departure from the more garage-y sounds of their earlier albums, especially “I Will Be”. This is partially due to the collaboration with producer Richard Gottehrer, a big player in pop from the 70s and 80s.
The album is mostly characterized by the bouncy female vocals, gentle beats, and guitar with heavy reverb, resulting in some kind of goth indie pop. Kind of like Cults, Throwing Muses and The Jesus and Mary Chain had a baby.
Some of the songs feel too easy, technically good, but thematically and emotionally lacking. There’s no doubt that front woman Dee Dee Penny knows how to make music, but certain songs (e.g Rimbaud Eyes, Little Minx) seem to be empty in both spirit and emotion. On the other hand there are other songs that are overflowing with emotion, such as “Under These Hands”. On the track Dee Dee sings “…Under these hands I hold my heart….. Cast off the clothes/I wore to death/They strangle my my thoughts/They steal my breath.” Similarly, the final track, “Trouble is My Name” features Dee Dee coating her lyrics in velvet, with delicate, undulating guitars. “In the Wake of You” is a track that feels so eerily similar to 90s girl bands that it’s almost uncomfortable.
This is possibly the one big fault of the album. Dum Dum Girls may be taking too much from their influences and not developing a personal sound well enough. Cult of Love starts of the album on an upbeat note. The lyrics may be menacing, but the guitar and drums are gleeful. The tracks one by one can be hit or miss, some feeling like the best thing on my iPod that day, and others that I can’t even stand. Overall, the strange goth pop album feels like a great soundtrack to a modern day Spaghetti Western. My favorite tracks are rated as Gotta Have It, however the album as a whole is rated as Liked It.
Favorite Tracks: Too True to Be Good,Trouble is My Name, Under These Hands, Cult of Love
Rating: Liked It