Autobiographical Order No. 230: Dum Dum Girls – Too True

It’s always a good idea to check in with bands you don’t necessarily love on first listen. There are a good number of bands who make an essential debut album (and sometimes can’t follow it up—it’s a curse as much as a blessing), but by and large it takes most bands a while to build up to their best record. Dum Dum Girls is just such a band.

I remember hearing their debut album around the time my wife and I got kicked out of our house in South Park, and while I liked “Jail La La,” it seemed undercooked. Decent, not great garage rock. And the fact that I had associated the album with a traumatic time in my life certainly didn’t help matters. But over time they got better, their second album a marked improvement over the first, and an EP released after that an even stronger effort.

Too True, however, is the band’s best album, and ended up being their last (for now anyway?) since Dee Dee is now performing as Kristin Kontrol, which is pretty decent too. Too True appeals to my sensibilities because it’s the band’s most goth record. It has a bit of a vintage 4AD sound to it, as well as some elements of Siouxsie and the Banshees. It’s super catchy, glossy goth pop that I loved on first listen. In fact, I heard “Lost Boys and Girls Club” in an exercise compiling upcoming releases and didn’t really expect much from it. It quickly ended up making Too True an album near the top of my list of anticipated 2014 releases. And though Dee Dee is a San Diego music scene alumna, I bought the record in New York City (where she lives now, I’m pretty sure).

Dum Dum Girls have always been an image-heavy band, and this is no different. The cover art is a little over the top—Pitchfork made a joke about it being the goth version of Bangerz, which is their second best gag. (The first is giving a favorable review to emo rap hack/dufus Lil Peep.)

It’s not a mind-blowing album, but it’s stylish, catchy and a lot of fun. Plus I have the pretty baby-blue splatter vinyl, and that’s cool. But I listen to it a fair amount, and if I had written the band off entirely, it wouldn’t be in my collection. And who knows how long it would have taken to correct that mistake.

Rating: 9.0

Sound Quality: Great

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