Review : Dum Dum Girls - He Gets Me High
PitchforkTouring last year behind Dum Dum Girls' full-length debut, I Will Be, Kristin "Dee Dee" Gundred stood stock-still in front of the microphone, clad in black dresses and stark red lipstick. She strummed stoically, rarely speaking between songs or addressing the audience directly. The shows were short, sweet, and intense, even if the frontwoman came across as slightly detached. It was, she said, a stance born of her stage fright, and it worked only because her songs were so catchy and excitably noisy. Claiming the stage for herself, she conveyed a sense of calm and content, which suited her tales about the thrills of monogamy and devotion.
The title of that album implied a theme of transformation and realization, and in 2010, Dee Dee took her first steps toward becoming a more dynamic performer, harnessing her stage fright into a viable stage presence. That development continues on her new EP, He Gets Me High, a collection of four tracks that reveal the extent of her talent and range. The band's musical palette is larger and more sophisticated than that on I Will Be, and they make more dramatic and idiosyncratic use of the influences they wear on their sleeves. Just shy of 14 minutes, this EP further distinguishes Dum Dum Girls from the other bands drawing from this same well of fuzz-pop influences.
Produced by Dee Dee with the Raveonettes' Sune Rose Wagner and music mogul/songwriter Richard Gottehrer (co-founder of Sire Records and co-writer of 60s girl-group staples "My Boyfriend's Back" and "I Want Candy" fame), He Gets Me High runs a pretty wide range of moods and emotions considering its brief runtime. The energetic "Wrong Feels Right" finds guitars and drums racing exuberantly toward a finish line like dragsters down a deserted highway. Waves of staticky distortion open the title track, which initially echoes "Bhang Bhang, I'm a Burnout" before veering off in other directions. And "Take Care of My Baby" is an exquisitely mopey farewell to a lover that could be a tour diary....full text
PrefixmagLos Angeles-based Dum Dum Girls follow up their fuzzy, girl group-inspired Sub Pop debut I Will Be with He Gets Me High, an EP composed of three originals and a cover of swooning Smiths' classic "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out." Lead singer/songwriter Dee Dee, Richard Gotteher (who also worked on I Will Be and is best known for penning "My Boyfriend's Back" and "I Want Candy"), and Sune Rose Wagner of the Raveonettes produced the EP...full text
ConsequenceofsoundWhen Dum Dum Girls issued its first full length effort, last year’s I Will Be, the band’s combination of indie and noise-pop drew in just about everyone and filled up venues from one end of the nation to the other. He Gets Me High pretty much continues where that debut left off, creating fuzzed-out numbers that are both aggressive and inevitably catchy. While there’s nothing that will get your attention as quick as “Jail La La” did, the EP does have plenty to offer in its short 15 minutes.
It all begins with Sandy’s heavy, rolling drums for “Wrong Feels Right”. Dee-Dee’s vocals may seem smooth at first, but they show hints of pressure and panic underneath the surface. While the verses are straightforward assortments of riff and chords, the pre-chorus is pop-rock at its best, full of ringing guitars and echoing harmonies. The chorus itself is short but strong, creating a whirl of instruments behind clear, deepening vocals, almost like they’re breaking the surface of reverb in which they’re usually swimming.
The title track is a bruiser of a rock song, immediately notable for its powerful, distorted bass capable of leveling mountains. The vocal harmonies are almost Beatles-esque, with a singsong quality that balances out the rough instrumentation. The ending 30 seconds boost it up another notch as Dee-Dee repeats the chorus over and over, backed by ascending harmonies. The problem is that, besides the interesting bass and vocals, there’s simply not much else worth listening to on this number. The guitar and drums seem almost overwhelmed by the lumbering rhythm, so they stick to fairly simple patterns that grow tiresome.
The second half of the EP, “Take Care of My Baby” and “There Is A Light” move a little outside the formula to which Dum Dum Girls have kept faithful. The former moves at a slow, steady pace that allows it to build and put all the focus on dramatic, passionate vocals. Chiming guitars shine out of a wall of reverb, giving the whole thing the feel of an early ’60s ballad. The best part of the song, though, is the understated drums that sound like they’re being played at the bottom of a long stairwell. The closing cover of “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” sounds like The Smiths by way of the early ’90s. It’s a rough and raging interpretation that trades out the melancholy of Morrisey’s vocals for Dee-Dee’s excitement of all life and love have to offer. The arrangement stays close to the original, but the Dum Dum Girls put their own spin on it with distorted guitar effects. Rather than being lighter than air, it is transformed into a heavy beast of a song....full text
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