Because of their humble beginnings as a bedroom-recording project in Los Angeles, the Dum Dum Girls had a rough start. Vocalist Dee Dee Penney started the Dum Dum Girls in 2008, and it wasn’t until their first full length LP, I Will Be, released by Sub Pop records in 2010, that the indie noise pop band to receive any measure of recognition. Currently based in New York City, the Dum Dum Girls continue to pump out records, including the January 28th release of the retro dream-pop album from Sub Pop records, Too True.
The Dum Dum Girls resurrect a multitude of sounds that bring us back to the days of perms and technicolor leisure suits. The album begins with “Cult of Love,” a track with distant vocals and a west coast guitar lick. Reminiscent of bands such as The Cure and Concrete Blonde, the Dum Dum Girls have a knack for creating — or maybe more accurately, re-creating — classic oldies pop rock music.
However, there is one major problem: this throwback to the ‘70s and ‘80s is not executed very well. It seems this obvious classic rock influence creates a less than genuine finished product. In one of the album’s most interesting tracks, “Evil Blooms,” lyricist Dee Dee Penny sings, “There is such bliss, when you’ve got no plans.” This lyrical mediocrity abounds in the album as the all-too-glamorous Dum Dum Girls explore “voids in their heart” and “sharp love” that has “swollen them up” in the tracks “Too Good to be True” and “Rimbaud Eyes.”This lack of dynamism in Too True is somewhat redeemed by the authentic nostalgia it might create in listeners. There is something refreshing about hearing a band that transports listeners into a past era. The whimsical harmonic ballad “Trouble is My Name” reminds listeners of a top-down cherry-red convertible ride with their father while sucking lollipops and feeling the wind rush through their hair.
The Dum Dum Girls have yet again produced an unappealingly basic and tasteless throwback album. This record makes listeners hunger for artistic substantiality in instrumentation and lyrical content. There are some trends that cycle back to center stage after a number of years, but with Too True, Dee Dee Penny and the Dum Dum Girls fail to do justice to the classic pop-rock figureheads that inspired so many.