by Jeff Yerger
Let’s get one thing out of the way before we go any further… you know, the big purpley elephant in the room. Let’s all just agree that the album cover to the Dum Dum Girls’ third full-length album, Too Soon, is horrendous and tacky. What is Dee Dee wearing? Why is she looking at me like that? Why is she even on this cover at all? Up until now, the Dum Dum Girls’ album covers have been pretty cool, at times, beautiful. This gaudy thing belongs in the shreader, but I can’t tell if this is on purpose or not.
Right, where were we? The music. Yes, well the music a completely different story all together. In fact, Too True is yet another bold step from a band that seems to get better with every release. Voice problems be damned, frontwoman Dee Dee Penny followed her music (“desire”) deep down the rabbit hole and what has come out on the other side is a lush haze of 80s-goth inspired garage pop.
Like a flower that’s slow to bloom, Too True takes its time to open up. The first three tracks are come across as half-baked ideas that never really seem to take off. “Rimbaud Eyes” is the most generic out of the three, and like the album art, you begin to wonder why these songs were included. Perhaps that muse Dee Dee was after led her down the wrong path.
Yet, as soon as the gorgeous “Are You Okay?” comes along, Too True turns into a completely different album; the sequencing is more balanced and the songwriting is much sharper. “In The Wake of You” is an immediate stand-out, as it is the culmination of everything the band has done up to this point. Its widescreen chorus points to the future, but the rhythm and grungy guitar hint at the Dum Dum Girls’ roots in garage rock.
The great thing about Too True is that while every song on here is unique, the overall vibe and sound remains constant. That’s not an easy thing to do. I can’t picture any of these songs on another Dum Dum Girls record, and I think that’s a good thing. Dee Dee is mastering her craft, and album by album, she remains looking forward. In the past, she has made this sound easy, but on Too True it feels a little more earned. Give this album some loving care, and watch it blossom into the beautiful flower it truly is.