Mid-career EPs tend to either open or close chapters and End Of Daze – Dum Dum Girls’ stopgap between 2011’s Only In Dreams and their new Too True LP – did just that, bringing down the curtain on a sad episode in frontwoman Dee Dee Penny’s life. She’s back on form now though and, in her own words, Too True is her “best attempt at joining the rock ‘n’ roll ranks, of chasing pop into the dark.” And it’s certainly got a swagger, the girls’ trademark garage-pop embracing the commercial end of the 80s Goth-rock movement this time around.
I will not be the only one to pick Penny up on her pronunciation however. And it’s such a pity she mangles the eponymous poet’s name in “Rimbaud Eyes” so thoroughly because it’s otherwise a pretty great track in a stadium-sized, Simple Minds-meets-The Cult sorta way. Given its title, the cool “Lost Boys And Girls Club” later follows up this same vibe in exactly the way you might expect – frosty and full of taut, period hi-hats – while the gritty “In The Wake Of You” and “Little Minx” house more heroic, almost post-punk guitar work.
As good as it is though Too True is not all faux Goth posturing. With Sune Rose Wagner of The Raveonettes on production once more the trademark Dum Dum Girls melodies were always going to be undercut by heavyhearted currents and you can hear his influence bleeding out on strong tracks like “Are You Ok?” and the closer “Trouble Is My Name”. As is in fashion courtesy of the likes of La Luz, there’s an unexpected spaghetti-surf bassline wandering all over the nifty opener “Cult Of Love” too and the fuzzy edges of “Evil Blooms” sees Penny’s new pedals put to good use.
In the press release she states that “So much of my life has been defined, aided, and even saved by music.” And, despite a couple of sub-par brooders like “Under These Hands” spread around the mix, Too True is, ironically enough given its dark hue, the light at the end of Penny’s tunnel, as well as a super solid start to 2014 for all concerned.
Best tracks: “Lost Boys And Girls Club” and “Rimbaud Eyes”
A short work but one that you can put on replay & never tire off. Drums & bass are prominent with a lead vocal that is wonderful floating amongst the catchy melodies. 'Cult Of Love' kicks off in excellent fashion & immediately grabs. 'Evil Blooms' is slightly darker but with the same urgency. 'Rimbaud Eyes' is as catchy as anything (inspired by the surrealist French poet Arthur Rimbaud who apparently also had arresting eyes :o). 'Are You Okay' is a slower but a contagious sound. Each track flows into the other well as per 'Too True To Be Good', 'In The Wake Of You' & 'Lost Boys & Girls Club' all splashing out in a similar fashion. 'Little Minx' has fine guitar strums over the incessant drugged rhythm. 'Under These Hands' is another cool example of what sets them apart from 100s of other "similar" outfits with some catchy lyrics "under these hands I hold my heart". Ends with the heartfelt troubled 'Trouble Is My Name' which is quite different. Excellent sprightly melodic indie pop.
This is a sparkling effort. Ten strong songs, great hooks, nice jangly guitars and Dee Dee's unmistakable vocals to top it all. Uptempo tracks like 'Cult of Love' and 'Evil Blooms', 'In The Wake Of You' and 'Little Minx" sound immediately appealing, while 'Rimbaud Eyes' is possibly the most catchy song, but in reality there's not a weak track here.
Their previous album "Only In Dreams" was darker and suffered a bit from many tracks sounding rather similar. But Too True is much more varied in sound, pace, guitar style and in my opinion much more fun to listen to. Think of the Go-Go's (with a better vocalist) or later-day Lush. A minor criticism would be the duration (just 30 minutes plus), but it's thirty minutes of real quality. Recommended to anyone who likes guitar pop/rock.
I knew a very little bit about the girls after I read about Frankie Rose's involvement (I love Frankie); then discovered from the All Music Guide that this was their new album.
It reminds me of New York post-punk / New Wave - an updated and better Blondie. Dee Dee Penny, it seems, wrote this album and recorded it with Sune Rose Wagner of the Ravonettes. So, just the two of them in the studio. Well, they have made a wonderful album.
This may be only 30 minutes long (I have not deducted a star for brevity, as one of my fellow reviewers did - although I understand why he did so). We all just want more wonderful Dum Dum music. This album sets off at a lightening pace with sultry vocals on "Cult Of Love" and continues in that vein on "Evil Blooms" and "Rimbault Eyes" before slowing down for the warmth and sultriness of "Are You Okay?". "Too True" lifts up the pace again and carries you through the album. It does slow down again for the couple of tracks at the end - "Under These Hands" and the final piece of wondrousness. "Trouble Is My Name" is glorious and leaves the listener wanting a whole lot more - so I just listen to it again.
On the strength of this, I bought the previous two albums, "I Will Be" and "Only In Dreams". The former was just too low-fi for me and the songs weren't, in my opinion, strong enough to keep me interested, but "Dreams" showed the progress made and is another excellent album.
This latest offering sees them at their heavenly best. An early claim to my personal album of the year. It will take some beating.
Sune Rose Wagner's fingerprints are all over this to the point it could be the Raveonettes with Dee Dee fronting them. If that sounds like your thing, it's incredibly hard to fault it as an album. the only downside is the barely thirty minute running time, for which I have to deduct one star.
Definitely my favourite Dum Dum Girls album to date. It's probably their rockiest yet (in a gentle way) with a fine set of songs. Opening with 'Cult of Love' which includes a great guitar burst mid song (a similar ploy is used during 'Little Minx') and all the following songs then just fit into place plus Dee Dee's beautiful vocals and the twangy/shimmery guitars give the album a luxurious feel. For the first time i noticed her vocal style occasionally sounds like Chrissie Hynde but her glorious vocal on the final track 'Trouble is my name' is just pure Dee Dee. Nothing at all to dislike here.