With propulsive girl-group rhythms roughed up by tangles of guitar feedback and the shoegazed cool of frontwoman Dee Dee’s insouciant vocals, the Dum Dum Girls’ debut, I Will Be, plays like a veritable best-of of current trends in lo-fi rock ‘n’ pop. In fact, the disc’s (admittedly exhilarating) fidelity to the budding-but-already-overdone genre nearly weighs it down. The Girls don’t add much in the way of innovation to an increasingly crowded and Vivian Girl’d revivalist market.
But what they do bring — charm, energy, and a seemingly inexhaustible grab-bag of giddy hooks — is more than enough to lift the album. Songs like the joyous howls and swoons of “Jail La La,” the sensuous whispers and Phil Spector’d sonic come-ons of “Rest of Our Lives,” and the rollicking ‘Bhang Bhang, I’m a Burnout” (think mid-‘60s Stones as fronted by Ronnie Spector) lodged themselves deep between my ears long after I Will Be stopped spinning.
As to whether or not the Dum Dum Girls themselves have that kind of staying power depends entirely upon their willingness to move forward from the girl-group revivalism that they’ve now taken to its logical endpoint. We’ve heard what the Girls can be, but what they will be remains unsure. Whatever it is, it will likely be damn catchy.