Album Review: Dum Dum Girls, ‘Too True’

Drawing comparisons to other lo-fi, indie pop groups like Girls and Best Coast, Dum Dum Girls have perfectly captured the same fuzzy dream-like nostalgia in their own back catalogue. Originally started in 2008 as a small musical project recorded in the L.A apartment of frontwoman, Dee Dee Penny (aka Kristin Welchez), the group has since relocated to New York, and produced three albums and four EPs in the short span of six years.  Their earlier music evokes memories of an adolescence spent talking to friends on the phone about cute boys and sneaking out late at night in attempts to rebel. However, with its lush, shiny production values, Dum Dum Girls’ third LP, Too True, takes a darker and more gothic turn away from the sun drenched wooziness of their previous work.  Too True focuses on themes of love, friendship and the future and seems strongly influenced by gloomy alt-rock bands of the ’80s like The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Cure, and The Stone Roses. Over ten tracks, Dee Dee and her bandmates accomplish a full and masterly sound that at times verges on becoming overly wistful and gloomy, but never runs the risk of being unsentimental.  Tracks like the opener, ‘Cult of Love’, and ‘Little Minx’ have a fast paced ’80s mentality, the latter’s bass line and kick drum drawing comparisons to epic classic pop anthems of the era. Rather than sounding daggy, the two tracks possess qualities similar to the work of another famous and influential girl-band, Haim, who burst onto the scene last year with their effortlessly cool attitudes and tunes. ‘Evil Blooms’ has a moody dreamlike quality that is contrasted with a grungy rhythm and beat pattern evocative of The Strokes’ most recent LP, Comedown Machine. ‘Rimbaud Eyes’ is another rockier track that draws similarities to ’90s riot-girl punk rock. This garage rock-esque mood is carried throughout Too True, but never drifts into a feeling of complete angst or raucousness. The album does provide a few slower and more reflective moments too. Tracks like ‘Are You OK?’ and ‘Under These Hands’ hark back to the band’s earlier work with their carefree lyrics and simplistic melodies. Highlights of Too True are the moody single, ‘Lost Boys and Girls Club’, and the upbeat and fun, ‘In The Wake Of You’, which really makes you want to dance. However, the (kind of) title track, ‘Too True to Be Good’ is a wasted opportunity with its rather annoyingly repetitive chorus and overly superficial musicality.  The album’s closer, ‘Trouble Is My Name’ is a melodramatic slowburner with lyrics like“I had a vision I wanted to be dead” that perfectly match the eerie fuzziness of the music. But when the upbeat kicks in at around the two-minute mark, the song’s melancholic beauty is really quite overwhelming. The tracks on Dum Dum Girls’ third LP, Too True do not greatly vary from each other, and the overall tone of their music has drastically changed from what it once was. A more mature and reflective mood has taken over, providing some truly introspective moments amongst some, unfortunately, duller moments.  3.5 out of 5 stars Review by Jade Bate  

March 5th 2014
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