Dum Dum Girls, I Will Be
A fuzzy, spiked sound that recalls another era, even if you're not quite sure which one it might be
For the California-based Dum Dum Girls, the song remains the same. Over the insistent, primitive and propulsive drumming of former Vivian Girl Frankie Rose, Kristen Gundred (aka Dee Dee) coos haunted lullabies in an alluring, distant monotone over serrated surf-punk guitars. It makes for a beautifully monochrome, enigmatic debut, I Will Be.
Dum Dum Girls has drawn comparisons to gal groups like the Crystals and female-fronted groups like Blondie or the Raveonettes. And there's merit in those reference points, especially the latter two — the producer of I Will Be, Richard Gottehrer, has worked with both bands.
However, I Will Be's closest aesthetic cousin might be Krautrock: Dum Dum Girls employ a stoned, sunburned motorik beat, courtesy of Rose, that sets the emotional tone in songs as much as Gundred's words and guitar. Just listen to the way the broken language of "Oh Mein Me," gets increasingly animated as the beat goes on, while "Blank Girl" provides a brief chance for a slow dance.
After starting to record as Dum Dum Girls in '08, Gudred filled the band out to become a four-piece, adding Rose's inimitable pounding. Together, the quartet make a fuzzy, spiked sound that recalls another era, even if you can't quite put your finger on which era that might be.
Perhaps that's due to Gundred's preoccupation with timeless themes; namely, love and death. Nowhere is this volatile mix of joy and pain more evident than on breakneck "Yours Alone," where Gundred sings, "Met him at the school yard, five years old/ Told him I would love him 'til I'm cold," as we're left all the more haunted not knowing the ending of this love story.