Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dum Dum Girls - 'I Will Be'

The Internet is destroying words. Sure, there are still some fine institutions where a guy can get well-reasoned arguments about records, but for the most part, it’s one just s/f fest where anonymous commenters hurl feces at each other. Depending on who you read, for example, Dum Dum Girls are either a major buzz band thanks to their use of retro, lo-fi, pseudo-gothic pop songs (like The Pains of Being Pure at Heart of 2010!), or a really, really shitty band who writes stupid, useless songs for stupid, useless hipsters (like The Pains of Being Pure at Heart of 2010…?). Me, I fall somewhere in between.

I generally like I Will Be, the group’s full-length debut on Sub Pop Records. I finally picked the album up over the weekend. It dropped almost a month ago, which in Internet time makes it an artifact from another era. I was hesitant on account of all the over- and underrating going on, and to be honest my record collection is still too big despite several attempts to sell it off. But I’m glad I committed.

I Will Be is a solid collection of retro-leaning pop tunes. They’re noisy enough to defy mainstream conventions, not nearly noisy enough to deserve the phrase “noise pop” though. The songs are a little more tightly wound than the Pains or The Raveonettes, but fans of either group should be down with Dum Dum Girls. These are lo-fi love songs. They’re hazy and romantic and ever so slightly macabre, even kitschy in the case of “Jail La La.

That said, I had to check my CD player twice to make sure it wasn’t set to shuffle. The songs get a little repetitive, which is bad for a 29 minute album. So while the songs are cohesive, they’re also too restricted by the group’s artistic limitations. The Girls recycle the same drum machine parts a few times, which doesn’t help.

Dum Dum Girls produced a record that’s decent throughout. Maybe I Will Be will round out the bottom 20 of my top albums for the year. Maybe I’ll sell my copy three to five years from now. Maybe their next album will tell me everything I ever wanted to know and feel and make me cry for days but in the sort of way that gives me comfort, because it will remind me that life is worth experiencing. Shit man, I don’t know. I wouldn’t want to make any over-the-top statements.

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