Music Review: Too True

Dum Dum Girls

Too True

Sub Pop Records

It’s a little odd hearing Dum Dum Girls fully embracing dream pop in what feels like mere moments after the bandwagon for that genre left. It always seemed like a natural fit for the band — lead singer Dee Dee has always had the right voice for it, and the band’s guitars have always steered towards some sort of haze.

Initially it was a lo-fi fuzz, but gradually they cleaned up their sound and incorporated things like tremolo and reverb effects. They&rsquo;ve always been verging on dream pop, but it&rsquo;s not until their latest album, <em>Too True</em>, that they&rsquo;ve become full converts.

It&rsquo;s got all of the hallmarks of an early &lsquo;10s dream pop revival record &mdash; a strong debt to the &lsquo;80s in the drums and guitars and a vaguely pretty and/or hazy sound, all played at a reasonably quick tempo. You can cite that sound to any number of bands from the past few years; Wild Nothing, DIIV, and ex-band member Frankie Rose all put out good records in 2012 with the exact same goals. Had this been released a couple of years ago, it would&rsquo;ve fit right in.

But those albums all seemed to fit into some sort of trend that was going to come and pass, and it&rsquo;s felt like that time has passed. They&rsquo;re still good records, but given that they were drawing on sounds that typically didn&rsquo;t hold up well in the past to begin with, it&rsquo;s not always easy to view them as such.

So when an album comes along that attempts to fit in two years after the fact, it&rsquo;s hard to look at it charitably. Like the others, it too is decent, though when it is, songwriting isn&rsquo;t likely the cause.

Lead single &ldquo;Lost Boys and Girls Club&rdquo; is probably the only one that fits that bill, where the main guitar riff is so good that it doubles as the chorus. Otherwise, it&rsquo;s likely the arrangement making a song decent, should it be a massive switch to distortion towards the end of &ldquo;Little Minx&rdquo;, the chilly atmosphere of &ldquo;Cult of Love&rdquo;, or Dee Dee&rsquo;s pretty coos in the chorus of &ldquo;Too True to Be Good.&rdquo; Alas, even the best moments aren&rsquo;t <em>outstanding</em>; good but ultimately forgettable.

Because of all of that, this album will be (justly) ignored, with most people checking it out only because they might&rsquo;ve liked one of their previous albums (their EP <em>End of Daze</em> is a good deal better). Better timing wouldn&rsquo;t have made this better, merely more relevant. Even so, the trend would have passed and it would have been forgotten anyways, so there&rsquo;s nothing really lost.