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Dum Dum Girls - Too True (Album Review)

Tuesday, 28 January 2014 Written by Huw Baines

You can’t accuse Dee Dee Penny of not investing in Dum Dum Girls’ partial reinvention on ‘Too True’. She’s taken a chunk out of the surf guitars and bubblegum pop of ‘Only In Dreams’, installing a new vein of neon lights, synths and a goth-pop sensibility. Just seconds into the record, on opener Cult Of Love, she sings: “We touch beneath our skin, right down to the bare wires.”

With some assistance from producers Richard Gottehrer and Sune Rose Wagner, of the Raveonettes, long-time collaborators both, Penny has added another layer of gloss and a dark, playful wit to the lo-fi garage punk sound established on ‘I Will Be’, just as ‘Only In Dreams’ piled on the girl group melodies.

‘Too True’ is an arch, achingly cool record, for better or worse. It references the books that Penny became lost in while allowing her voice to recover mid-writing, see the excellent Rimbaud Eyes, just as it sometimes employs regulated beats and searing electro-distortion.

Evil Blooms, meanwhile, offers a superb, red-lipsticked kiss off to underline its louche charm: “Why be good? Be beautiful and sad.”

Are You Okay? is a hazy update of the romanticism found on past highlights Bedroom Eyes and In My Head, while In The Wake Of You is pure new wave; infectious and breezy, but born from the isolation of Penny’s writing process.

Even at its least engaging, on Lost Boys And Girls Club or Little Minx, ‘Too True’ is an atmospheric record, one awash with imagery and nagging references to a bygone era. It’s also unmistakably a Dum Dum Girls album, which, given its heavy stylistic influence, is testament to the skill of its writer.


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