Drawing comparisons to other lo-fi, indie pop groups such as Girls, Best Coast and Vivian Girls, the Dum Dum Girls have perfectly captured that fuzzy dream-like nostalgia throughout their back catalogue. Their earlier music evoked memories of an adolescence spent talking to your friends on the phone about cute boys and sneaking out late at night to defy your parents. With its lush, shiny production values, their 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 gains its major influences from gloomy alt-rock bands of the 80s like The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Cure and The Stone Roses. The Dum Dum Girls originally started in 2008 as a small musical project recorded in the L.A apartment of frontwoman Dee Dee Penny (a.k.a Kristin Welchez). Since then, the group have relocated to New York, produced three albums and four EPs in the short span of 6 years, and evolved into a new-wave riot-girl band.
Over Too True’s ten tracks, Dee Dee and her band mates 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. These tracks never verge on sounding daggy, but rather possess similar qualities 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 also a rockier track that draws similarities to 90’s riot-girl punk rock bands. This garage rock-esque mood is carried throughout Too True, but it 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 reminiscent of slacker-rock.
Highlights of Too True come from 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 bit of 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.
Each of the tracks on Dum Dum Girls’ third LP Too True are not greatly varied from one another, 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 other duller moments.
This review was published on the website for SYN Radio Reviews