On their third album, Too True, Dee Dee Penny and the Dum Dum Girls (Jules, Sandy, and Malia) create a more focused version of their fuzz-drenched indie-pop sound. The album sounds much more confident than previous efforts, specifically the early EPs, is expertly arranged, and has seen them move on from the lo-fi garage noise to a sound with more studio sheen.
Dee Dee’s been heading towards a stronger studio sound since signing to Sub Pop in 2009. Sixties pop writing legend Richard Gottehrer has been her studio confidant and inspiration since she asked him to advise her on 2010’s I Will Be. Understandable, considering the man penned “My Boyfriend’s Back” and “I Want Candy,” meaning, he knows how to produce an indie-pop track, and knows what he’s doing behind the glass.
On Too True, Dee Dee, Gottehrer, and Raveonette Sune Rose Wagner, explore that rich pedal style of 1980s U.K. indie bands like Echo & the Bunnymen, The Smiths, and Siouxsie and the Banshees, while still infusing enough of their own modern crunch to be original. Dee Dee cites Siouxsie and the Banshees as inspiration, although you can hear little in the way of Siouxsie Sioux’s saddening croons here. Dee Dee still has a slight, but uncanny hint of Chrissie Hynde in her vocals, playing with that duality of tough girl and tender lover. There are hints of 80’s new wave/garage rock at times as well, as if they’re channeling Berlin, or perhaps even the Motels.
In the thirty-something minutes of Too True the Dum Dum’s make some of the most crafty and diversified tunes of their career. The shoegaze fuzziness of the lead single “Lost Boys and Girls Club,” to the upbeat, yet dark vibe of “Little Minx,” they mix it up enough to keep you on your toes, while giving you a complete sounding record. The aforementioned lo-fi pop from earlier work now set aside in favor of the audio superiority that comes from working in a great studio alongside a renowned producer with similar indie-pop sensibilities.
The Dum Dum Girls will be performing at both official showcases, including Thursday, March 13 at Red 7 Patio, and unofficial parties at SXSW 2014, such as the Warby Parker Citizen’s Circus, March 12, 13, and 14 at the French Legation Museum. Dum Dum Girls play that party at noon on March 14, while other acts include Big Deal (March 13, 6pm) and Exitmusic (March 12, 5pm).