Spring is upon us at last and downtown L.A. girl gang the Dum Dum Girls have crafted the perfect debut album for the occasion. Described by the band as sounding like a "blissed out buzz saw," I Will Be's 11 sunburnt songs accomplish quite a lot in just under 30 minutes, mainly proving that garage music can be married to a bubblegum pop sensibility without losing its razor sharp edge.
Leader of the pack, Dee Dee (not her real name), started making music on her own in 2008, but eventually enlisted the help of a few friends to give her rough and fuzzy sound a sonic boost. Drummer Frankie Rose, who had previously worked with Vivian Girls and Crystal Stilts, offered her services, as did Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who lends his guitar skills on "Yours Alone," and most notably, veteran music producer Richard Gottehrer whose credits include "I Want Candy," "My Boyfriend's Back," and various Go-Gos and Blondie records. While the Dum Dum Girls share some similarities with these last two female-fronted bands, they owe much more to '60s girl groups like the Shangri-Las and the Ronettes and '80s punk rockers the Vaselines and Jesus and Mary Chain. All hard acts to follow, to say the least, but the Dum Dum Girls hold their own.
They don't waste any time getting things started with the immediate mad energy of album opener "It Only Takes One Night." The beginning of the album feels like opening the door to a rock show that's already begun and smacking right into that buzzing wall of sound. That rabid intensity carries over to songs like "Yours Alone" (sample lyric: "Told him I would love him 'til I'm cold"), "Lines Her Eyes" -- which chronicles a rivalry between Dee Dee and a clone who "lines her eyes and does her hair just like me" -- "Oh Mein Me," a song sung entirely in German, and, last but definitely not least, the ridiculously infectious first single "Jail La La." Just try to resist singing along to the last one; I dare you.
But don't think that the Dum Dum Girls are a one-trick pony; they can also scale it back and hit your sweet tooth with equal force. The tempo slows and Dee Dee gets sugary on the uber cute duet "Blank Girl" (Brandon Welch of the Crocodiles plays the male yin to Dee Dee's yang) as well as on the intimate love song "Rest of Our Lives." And the girls get downright choral on the album's dulcet closing number "Baby Don't Go," their seamless harmonies pleading with a departing lover to stay.
Judging by this neat debut package, the Dum Dum Girls shouldn't have a problem keeping listeners around. These girl-power warriors might not be breaking any new ground with their spiked pop songs, but anything this fun doesn't have to.
I Will Be is out now, just in time for all your springtime shenanigans!