Dum Dum Girls' 'Too True': What the Critics Are Saying
Showcasing the band’s 1980s lo-fi flair, Dum Dum Girls has struck a power chord with their latest album, Too True, out Jan. 28.
Based in New York City, singer-songwriter Dee Dee Penny sought to refine the group’s garage-rock appeal, exploring new avenues in their third full-length album. Since 2010, Dum Dum Girls has drummed up attention under Sub Pop, the grunge-heavy record label that helped launch such bands as Fleet Foxes and The Shins.
The dark lyrics and raw reverb of Too True has struck some critics as excessively rough, but for many others the album resounds with the nostalgic lure of classic rock & roll.
For more on Dum Dum Girls’ latest feat, here’s what the critics are saying:
In 2008, Dum Dum Girls arrived "with a concept so fully formed that, as with The Ramones, each successive album has largely offered refinements and variations," writes the New York Times’ Jon Pareles. The group’s grasp on melody and structure prove compelling, but as "guitars intertwine and gather around them," listeners are pulled "into all the mesmerizing turbulence of those troubled romances."
Rolling Stone’s Jon Dolan describes Too True as "sleek, tough, pouty indie pop streaked with black-eyeliner distortion and glossy melodies." Dolan gave the album 3.5 out of 5 stars, explaining how most tracks "more than live up to their fashion-goth titles," but that "Penny is best opening up her sound on big, searching ballads like 'Lost Boys and Girls Club.'"
Too True "comes with an exhaustive list of inspirations that helped singer Dee Dee smash through her writer’s block," the Guardian’s Kate Hutchingson notes, crediting the album with 3 out of 5 stars. But that process served as an attempt "to make her earlier stripy-tights-and-bowl-cut garage-punk seem more sophisticated." Although marked by "moments of greatness" the album "is as squeamish as it is smouldering."
"Penny steps into the light on Too True," says the Boston Globe’s James Reed. The "sleek and sophisticated" album "careers from muscular blasts of '80s guitar rock to spectral ballads," demonstrating the singer’s knack for writing hits "even if they never become that." Reed concedes that Dum Dum Girls’ fan base might find Too True too processed, but “that would be missing the point."
Spin’s Jason Gubbels gave Too True a seven out of ten rating, lauding the album as "expertly arranged and fleet-footed." The steady rise of Dum Dum Girls reaches a defining peak in the band’s third album, wherein Penny embraces "the rich synch/pedal blur of Ian McCulloch-style neo-psychedelia and 1980s U.K. college rock in all its nebular glory."