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Album Review: Dum Dum Girls – Too True

Dee Dee & co are back with Too True, their first full-length since 2011’s Only in Dreams. Coming off the back of two very different EPs in 2011’s He Gets Me High and its 2012 follow-up End of Daze, Too True continues to see Dum Dum Girls as champions of change. This time around, they’re once again channelling a different sound, one that’s immediately more cinematic, spacious and darker – with thrashing guitars a-plentiful. In an open letter describing the genesis of the new record Dee Dee notes several important influences and sounds we can expect to hear throughout:  “Do you hear Suede? Siouxsie? Cold-wave Patti? Madonna? Cure? Paisley and Velvet Undergounds? Stone Roses? Cuz I did.”

Album opener ‘Cult of Love’ is the perfect introduction to this darker, moodier tone heard throughout, followed by the sultry ‘Evil Blooms’ – a literal reference to French poet Baudelaire’s famous Les Fleurs du Mal. Alas, Too True doesn’t stop at just one shout-out to a long dead French poet, but two. Quelle chance.

Rimbaud Eyes’ sees a declaration of lust professed in the most unusual of ways, singing comparisons to Rimbaud, another 19th century wordsmith who evidently had dreamy eyes. At times, these obscure references may feel slightly cliché, as a somewhat forced attempt to join the ranks of musicians such as Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison; all seemingly influenced by the works of Surrealist poets.

Despite the academic inspiration, the themes of the songs never stray too far from the structural, common themes of love, lust, heartbreak and loss. Perhaps it is not as deep as it would like to think, but the album gives some great moments.  ‘Are You Okay’ smoulders, whilst ‘Little Minx’ pulsates and culminates in a burst of blazing guitars. ‘In the Wake of You’ is a clear post-break-up song, empowering yet reminding us that it’s okay to feel alone and, in general, a bit shit. ‘Lost Boys and Girls Club’ is a grungy, fuzzy anthemic tune, singing for the aimless souls of the titular lost generation – “there’s no particular place we are going, still we are going,” whilst ‘Too True to Be Good” possesses an enchanting melody, one that’s bound to get stuck in your head for days.

Too True is a record made with the intent of defining, and at the very least soundtracking moments in our lives, pivotal or not.  Every song bursts with an underlying urgency to be heard. Here is the formidable frontwoman’s “best attempt at joining the rock ‘n’ roll ranks”, and whilst not quite reaching the seemingly unattainable feat she has set herself, this record still stands on it’s own, undoubtedly featuring some of Dum Dum Girls’ best work to date.

- Clare Povey

Too True is available from January 27 on Sub Pop. You can buy it here.

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