Album Review: Dum Dum Girls - 'I Will Be' (Sub Pop)
More than just another garage rock pastiche, these girls have real heart
It was she who initiated the band as a bedroom project before roping in the likes of drummer Frankie Rose (ex of both [b]Crystal Stilts[/b] and – yes – [b]Vivian Girls[/b]). Both sticking to the garage rock template of outsider gang-dom and upsetting the genre’s canonical history as a tiresomely male-dominated field (the band’s name is a pointed play on a song from international man of mayhem Iggy Pop’s solo debut [b]‘The Idiot’[/b]), this rollicking debut album is a balance-redressing, cliché-bucking tonic.
[b]‘It Only Takes One Night’[/b] possesses both the frenzy and the cool of [b]The Cramps[/b]’ signature sound, but in place of that band’s raw weirdness there’s the lulling breeze of Dee Dee’s vocal, evocative of a sedated Eartha Kitt. The record strays far beyond the basics of rockabilly and garage rock: [b]‘Yours Alone’[/b] may feature [a]Yeah Yeah Yeahs[/a]’ [b]Nick Zinner[/b] on reverberating, fuzzy guitar, but the tenderness of Dee Dee’s vocal transcends genre boundaries: [i]“Met him at the school yard, five years old/Told him I would love him ’til I’m cold/We held hands, we took walks/My first kiss was at the docks… All my love is yours alone”[/i]. Rather than a mere stylistic nod to the girl group sound, [b]Dum Dum Girls[/b] offer a subtle-toned exploration of the politics of the personal of which [b]Ellie Greenwich[/b] would be proud, typified by latest single [b]‘Jail La La’[/b], which is equally lustful and sentimental.
[b]‘Bhang Bhang, I’m A Burnout’[/b] recalls the dulcet tones of [a]The Breeders[/a] circa [b]‘Divine Hammer’[/b], while [b]‘Oh Mein Me’[/b] takes its cue from Kim and Kelley Deal’s very own [b]‘German Studies’[/b] textbook. Yet the song is not just an exhilarating journey into the foreign languages, but an analysis of the rollercoaster ride of love at first sight.
Admittedly, [b]‘I Will Be’[/b] at times lacks the raw kinetic energy and fury that surged through early single [b]‘Catholicked’[/b]. The decision to exclude that song from the album is an unfathomable act to say the least. Still, there’s more than enough here to compensate for such minor misgivings: ultimately, ‘I Will Be’ is a convincing retort from an unfairly maligned band. Over to you, [b]Vivian Girls[/b].
[i]What do you think of the album? Let us know by posting a comment below.[/i]
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