Dum Dum Girls - 'Too True'
New York's Dee Dee Penny pays homage to her favourite gloomy bands and poetsMore on Dum Dum Girls
‘Too True’ isn’t the record to make her legend, but it is a fine homage to all those leather-clad heroes. It’s an album that could have been written, recorded and released on any day since 1979, and if you heard it without context you’d be forgiven for placing it closer to 1984 than 2014. That said, there’s fun to be had looking back.
As for making a break with her own band’s past, Penny has dropped much of her inclination towards the Phil Spector girl-group sound in favour of gloomy, gothy chic and an unmistakable ’80s sheen. The highpoint is the almost-title track ‘Too True To Be Good’, which shares its name and very little else with a late-era George Bernard Shaw play. It’s a sweet pop hit with a heart of narcotic fuzz, like mainlining a sugarcoated speedball.
Penny is never afraid of wearing her influences too brazenly, and this goes for her lyrics as much as for her sonic tributes. ‘Rimbaud Eyes’ is a direct reference to decadent French poet Arthur Rimbaud, who Penny cites as an influence along with his lover Paul Verlaine and the likes of Charles Baudelaire and Sylvia Plath. ‘Lost Boys And Girls Club’ comes across like a Siouxsie single slowed down and sung by an ennui-filled Pat Benatar.
By drinking deep from the coolest records and the hippest poets, Penny succeeds in beginning a new chapter for her band. Whether she makes it into the canon herself will have to wait for album number four.
Kevin EG Perry
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