Without ever making a big splash, Dum Dum Girls became one of the most consistent indie-pop acts of the past five years. That isn’t meant as a backhanded compliment, but more so an acknowledgement that the band’s third album, while impressive, doesn’t feel as fresh as some of the band’s previous releases.
When their debut album I Will Be came out in 2010, Dum Dum Girls could be firmly slotted into the category of revivalist garage girl groups similar to bands like Best Coast or Vivian Girls. To be fair, they always had a bit of an edge and flirted with songs from goth or dream pop, and over each of their subsequent releases they inched ever so slowly into that darker direction. Too True serves as a marked difference from their earlier material, as it finds the band firmly embracing their prior inclinations towards goth.
An influence that Dum Dum Girls incorporate on this new release is The Smiths, with songs like "Lost Boys & Girls Club" or "Under These Hands," which feature definite inspiration from the classic ‘80s act. But the band is best when it picks up the pace for more energetic and punchy tracks like "Evil Blooms." The album has moments like that, as single "Rimbauld Eyes" provides a satisfactory burst of new wave, but as a whole it doesn’t stack up to be anything more than enjoyable.
Dum Dum Girls have a tendency to impress heavily on short EPs before following them up with lesser full-length albums. 2011’s immediate and wonderful He Gets Me High EP was followed by the album Only In Dreams. In 2012, they astounded with the excellent EP, End of Daze, which contained what easily were the most tightly constructed songs the band has made to date. It was the group’s finest release, featuring incredibly strong tracks like "Lord Knows" or "Season In Hell." Sadly, Too True falls into that same pattern to a slightly greater degree, and doesn’t match up to the band’s last EP.
That being said, there are some definite gems on the album that hold up well with past material the group has made. "Too True To Be Good" and "Are You Okay?" are highlights that provide an excellent showcase for Dee Dee’s songwriting chops, even if they are not as grand or sweeping as some of the band’s earlier work.
In fact, if there’s one theme that seems to be present on Too True, it’s the Dum Dum Girls taking themselves a little less seriously, crafting goth & dream pop that are a bit more carefree this time around. It may not be as substantial or enveloping as their previous material, but it still makes for an enjoyable listen from a talented band.
Who: Dum Dum Girls
Album: Too True
Label: Sub Pop
Songs To Download: "Trouble Is My Name," "Are You Okay?" and "Too True To Be Good"