Release Date: Mar 1, 2011
Record label: Sub Pop
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Pop, Noise Pop
14 minutes in heaven… It’s hard not to fall in love at first listen with the Dum Dum Girls’ sexy clash of frail, melancholy innocence and sugar-sticky black-leather/red-lipstick rock ’n’ roll. “Jail La La,” the single from the band’s 2010 Sub Pop debut, I Will Be, is a near-perfect two-and-half-minute noise-pop confection—the aural embodiment of the girl next door dumpster-diving in the remnants of a black-lace gown after an all-night Four Loko bender. This new four-song EP spikes a similar vein, though Dum Dums’ mastermind Dee Dee (aka Kristin Gundred) has since assembled an all-girl band to amplify the music’s already feminine vibrations, and reached out to Raveonette Sune Rose Wagner and songwriter Richard Gottehrer (of “I Want Candy” and “My Boyfriend’s Back” fame) to co-produce.
Touring last year behind Dum Dum Girls' full-length debut, I Will Be, Kristin "Dee Dee" Gundred stood stock-still in front of the microphone, clad in black dresses and stark red lipstick. She strummed stoically, rarely speaking between songs or addressing the audience directly. The shows were short, sweet, and intense, even if the frontwoman came across as slightly detached.
It seems like the Dum Dum Girls have successfully evaded the backlash that threatened to envelop the fuzzy, Spector-indebted sound that seemingly every indie-pop band hitched their wagon to a couple years ago. Maybe that’s to do with lead singer Kristin "Dee Dee" Gundred's character, or the fact that I Will Be crept up on us relatively un-hyped, or maybe it’s because a song like “Jail La La” is such an untouchable work of pop-craft that no genre-tag can weigh it down with ill-perceived notions. Whatever the case, the Dum Dums entirely deserve a four-song victory lap.
Before heading into the studio with her band to record the second Dum Dum Girls album, frontwoman Dee Dee decided to record a few songs on her own. The He Gets Me High EP is the result of this solo trip. Recorded with help from I Will Be’s producer Richard Gottehrer and Raveonettes member Sune Rose Wagner, the four songs show that Dee Dee is ready to step out of the bedroom and into the real-world spotlight.
When Dum Dum Girls issued its first full length effort, last year’s I Will Be, the band’s combination of indie and noise-pop drew in just about everyone and filled up venues from one end of the nation to the other. He Gets Me High pretty much continues where that debut left off, creating fuzzed-out numbers that are both aggressive and inevitably catchy. While there’s nothing that will get your attention as quick as “Jail La La” did, the EP does have plenty to offer in its short 15 minutes.
As fetching as Dum Dum Girls’ reverb-soaked retro noise pop can be, it’s hard not to admit that the all-female four-piece doesn’t exactly trade in innovative or ambitious music. Yet that’s what’s appealing about the Girls, after all, as they give fans of ‘60s-by-way-of-the-‘80s indie fuzz the precise hazy/hooky sonic fix they are looking for. Such wanton unoriginality is usually forgivable if the songs pack enough melodic charms (as they did on last year’s Sub Pop full-length I Will Be), and singer Dee Dee Penny certainly has better pipes than many of her like-minded peers.
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