There are a whole bunch of things in this world that are too true, by which I mean hard truths that are undeniable. Those warts on your genitals aren’t going away. You will never win the affection of your father through your amateur post-modern theatre troupe. Things will always taste better when slammed between two slices of bread. These are facts, things that are too true to even begin to deny. Seriously, try to find an exception to these rules of life, and when you’re confined to a hospital from the insanity you’ve been driven to because of this, you can thank me.
Another thing that is ‘too true’ is that the Dum Dum Girls cannot suck. Look at their previous efforts of 2010’s ‘I Will Be’ and 2011’s ‘Only In Dreams’. The super-dooper trooper that is Dee Dee Penny aka Head Honcho at DDG & Co. utilised a blend of 70’s garage and 60’s power-pop charm on those records, and the result was an indefinite sighing of pleasure from the listener.
But with the new album, ‘Too True’ showcases Dee Dee’s affection with the New Wave. After all, where would society be without the records of Blondie, David Bowie and Talking Heads? Smooth, slick and revelling in the post-modern, New Wave represented that shying away from the hyperbolically testosterone scene that was the joke of punk at this point. When every slightly pissed off kid is picking up a guitar, only to sound like a shitty version of Dead Boys, someone had to step in and revert the direction of music.
That’s what the Dum Dum Girls have accomplished. If they’d produced another album of fun and irreverent garage-pop, they probably would’ve burst their own bubble. But by transporting themselves into the scenery and themes of New Wave, The Dum Dum Girls manage to carry on their legacy, as well as show they aren’t the one-trick pony that can only pull off a simple trick.
The result is a super-shiny, slightly dangerous and overtly pop exhibition of refurbished New Wave tunes. Most of the songs are pulled off with a flair and lushness that would make Nico swear off music because Dum Dum Girls were too good. Check-mate occurs early in the album, on the third track ‘Rimbaud Eyes’. If you didn’t believe me when I expressed that Dum Dum Girls had made an album with sheen, then I’m as disappointed as Martin is with Charlie and Emilio. Shame! ‘Rimbaud Eyes’ brings the Debbie Harry hard and fast to the front, that glittering dirty pop becoming a steadfast musical theme of the album.
The attention for the album doesn’t stop at ‘Rimbaud Eyes’. ‘Too True’ provides plenty of other 80’s name drops, from ABBA-meets-The Human League on ‘Too True To Be Good’, Depeche Mode on ‘Lost Boys and Girls Club’ and even a little bit of Patti Smith popping up on ‘Are You OK’.
But still, even with all these major influences rearing their heads, Dum Dum Girls remain defiantly modern. Dee Dee takes her newfound influences of Bowie and Harry, drops off The Zombies in the recycling bin, and then sprinkles all these modern touches of swelling guitar and danger-pop. And her voice! Fuck that voice will make angels cry!
Overall, Dum Dum Girls retain their position at the top of the new-school weird girl groups. Whilst Vivian Girls passed on and Beach House dulled down, Dum Dum Girls continue to evolve and push their sound, whilst retaining all they hold dear: influences and the ability to write a damn catchy pop song.