Review Summary: Dum Dum Girls continue to mark their territory, recording an excellent Smiths cover in the process.
Dum Dum Girls' debut, I Will Be
, was a highly enjoyable record, but it was also the type of album that you were reluctant to tell people that you loved, the type of album that was difficult to objectively enjoy. Its simple songwriting and sparse production worked well on exciting and taut songs like "Bhang Bhang, I'm a Burnout" but hampered tracks like "It Only Takes One Night" that seemed to end as soon as they began. These fundamental shortcomings made it difficult to rebuke criticisms that the positive press that the band was receiving from (the still largely male-driven) indie-rock press was primarily a result of their being four attractive women. So when "He Gets Me High", the title track off of the band's new short and sweet four-song EP, started making the rounds online, I was thrilled to hear a much more fully-fleshed sound than the one found on the band's debut. Immediately resembling a more robust "Bhang Bhang", the song is an appealingly loose jam that isn't terribly far removed from the sentiments that Bethany Cosentino is so content to perpetually dwell in. Except that instead of just singing, "When you leave me / you take away everything / you take all my money / you take all my weed," frontwoman Kristin "Dee Dee" Gundred is actually injecting a little bit of subtlety into the proceedings: "I put so much into your smile / it gets me by / it gets me high." It's just as blunt as Cosentino's weed-and-boys lyrics, but it somehow feels more weighty and less insufferably self-entitled - and, for the record, I actually liked
most of Crazy For You
The rest of the EP is almost as solid, with opener "Wrong Feels Right" effectively taking the formula laid out by "He Gets Me High" and giving it a shot of adrenaline via some seriously excellent drumming. More importantly, however, He Gets Me High
displays the band's willingness to expand its sound into territory that, for them, is mostly unexplored. "Take Care Of My Baby" is a bit too soggy to be really touching, but Dee Dee's vocal delivery is almost
convincing enough to make irritably starry-eyed lines like "I would watch as you were sleeping / to make sure you were still breathing" tolerable. And while the longing chorus is a tad bit overly sentimental, it still has an undeniable appeal. The cover of "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" that closes the EP is just the cherry on top, a truly inventive take on a song that really
doesn't need any more covers, or any more nauseatingly lovey-dovey movie scenes of two people establishing a hate-fucking relationship after discovering their mutual love for the Smiths. Yet Dee Dee's delivery of that immortal line - "if a double decker bus crashes into us / to die by your side is such a heavenly way to die" - is so winning, so inherently likable, that it's actually possible to forget about all of that irrelevant bullshit. And that deserves plenty of praise. So while He Gets Me High
is ultimately too slight to really be that substantial, it's an impressive leap forward that effectively and efficiently proves that there's much, much more to the Dum Dum Girls than merely sex appeal.