The Dum Dum Girls deliver with their latest EP, the barely fourteen-minute He Gets Me High. They’re fresh from the success of their debut album, I Will Be, which won them a spot on many 2010 best-of lists despite the fact that its semi-generic lo-fi, 1960s-influenced sound tended to blend in with the other bands that jumped on that particular sound bandwagon last year. Here, singer Dee Dee’s pure yet substantial vocals have wisely been cranked up and the fuzziness has been dialed down, resulting in a cleaner, more mature sound overall.
The EP begins with upbeat, poppy gem “Wrong Feels Right”, which essentially shares its beat and instrumentation with much of I Will Be but which pushes Dee Dee’s voice to the forefront. “What happened overnight/was wrong but it feels right,” she sings in the chorus, projecting the sort of Debbie Harry-esque sexy-girl-power brimming throughout the EP. Dee Dee and the other Girls (known as Jules, Sadie, and Bambi) are as self-possessed and arresting, even through headphones, as any more mature act. The title track follows on the heels of “Wrong Feels Right” with smooth harmonies and more fuzzed-out sweetness, lyrics reminiscent of Best Coast in their simplicity but nonetheless (or maybe therefore) infectious and endearing.
The third track, “Take Care of My Baby”, is the one slow spot on the EP, but the decrease into tempo doesn’t detract from the momentum accumulated in the first two songs. Dee Dee’s voice is here redolent with passion and longing; listen to her voice break ever-so-slightly on “I would watch as you were sleeping/to make sure you were still breathing”. A little creepy, maybe, but the rawness in her voice is palpable—and certainly never expressed by the likes of Best Coast.
The EP closes with “There is a Light that Never Goes Out”, a cover of the immortal Smiths number. This choice struck me as the EP’s only real false note upon the first listen, as I preferred Dee Dee’s more emotional affect to her imitation of Morrissey’s flat delivery. Nonetheless, the cover grew on me with repeat listens, and in fact, I think that the female energy and lo-fi guitar action gave the song a needed facelift.
He Gets Me High was KSPC’s most-played album recently, and it’s not hard to see why. These Girls are no-nonsense, talented broads.
Review by Julia Ringo