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Dum Dum Girls deliver on third album ‘Too True’

Posted on January 29, 2014 | by Matthew Mahoney

Courtesy of Subpop Records

Courtesy of Subpop Records

Dum Dum Girls are Dee Dee Penny’s band. Though there are several members of the group — Jules, Sandy and Malia are the three backing members — it is essentially Penny’s solo project. She writes the material and is the only band member on the cover of their latest album, “Too True.”

Produced by Richard Gottehrer and the Raveonette’s Sune Rose Wagner, the album plucks sonic elements from the ’60s and ’80s. Compared to previous releases, “Too True” is cooler and sleeker.

Upon first listening to the album, many of the tracks may seem quite similar due to the unchanging and ever-present drumming. But a second listen reveals the subtleties of the lyrics and melodies.

Penny’s voice is more polished than on previous releases, and the hooks on “Too True” are just as catchy. “Rimbaud Eyes” and “Lost Boys and Girls Club,” the two songs that were released in advance of “Too True’s” Jan. 28 release on Sub Pop Records, are infectious.

“Too True” starts with the confidently smooth trio “Cult of Love,” “Evil Blooms” and “Rimbaud Eyes.”

Then the album calms a bit for three plaintive, slower tracks. The Girls later regain their strength and speed through “Lost Boys and Girls Club.”

The album closes on a high note with “Trouble Is My Name,” which seems much lighter than the rest of the album because the percussion only comes in part way through the song.

The standout songs from this latest album are darker than in the band’s previous work, such as 2011’s warmer “Only In Dreams.” Anyone who has been following the band’s releases should not be surprised by this evolution — the first Dum Dum Girls release, a self-titled EP put out in 2008 by Zoo Records, featured gritty guitars and hazy vocals. In the song “Longhair” (from the debut EP), it is quite difficult to even discern what words Penny is singing.

Six years later, the sound is much more refined, there is still some of that hazy grit Dum Dum Girls debuted with. Essentially, as the band matured, they gained access to better recording equipment, which is partly the cause of their sound’s evolution.

The sound has evolved thanks to the band maturity. In 2008, Dum Dum Girls were Penny’s bedroom project, and she managed most of the work on her own. Now there are several members of the band, which also has caused the shift.

Dum Dum Girls are playing three dates in New York over the next few months, including a sold-out show at Mercury Lounge on Jan. 30. They return in late March to play the Bowery Ballroom (March 25) and Music Hall of Williamsburg (March 26).

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Jan. 29 print edition. Matthew Mahoney is a contributing writer. Email him at music@nyunews.com.

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Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

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Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

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Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

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