Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Listen Up! No. 97: Dum Dum Girls - He Gets Me High

When LA female noise-pop quartet Dum Dum Girls' debut LP I Will Be surfaced last year, it felt like a missed opportunity. The had a look, built around the gutter-goth style sexual aura of frontwoman Dee Dee, which screamed alt-icons. They were well connected - East Coast pal Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs contributed guitar in the studio. Meanwhile, songs like 'Jail La La' proved a band able to deliver the bubblegum melodies required to stand out from a pre-eminent (and saturated) lo-fi scene. However, where LA contemporaries Best Coast succeeded in pinning Bethany Cosentino's simple melodies to graceful, unfussy production,  Dum Dum Girls hid behind walls of guitars and a rhythm section so jarring as to be positively painful in headphones.

Did this betray a crisis of confidence in the material, or a bungled attempt to breakthrough with super-compressed radio fare, courtesy of former Go-Gos producer Richard Gottehrer? Regardless, swallowed up in the thud of the mix, many of the songs fell flat. Which brings us seamlessly to 'He Gets Me High', from the band's new EP of the same name (released late last month). The thundering snare is held back a touch, while guitars are allowed to sway woozily in and out of the void left behind. Most importantly, however, is we get more Dee Dee, with harmonies we can hum and words we can hear. And take note fellas - and Bethany Cosentino - she's not singing about weed.

He Gets Me High EP is out now on Sub Pop.

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