Dee Dee Penny, the queen bee of Dum Dum Girls, has always had a knack for crafting a catchy melody. The group’s 2012 End of Daze EP is a collection of lo-fi melodic garage rock that excelled in not overstaying its welcome. When the final note of End of Daze rang out, it left a perfectly dark door open for Too True.
Where End Of Daze threw you up in the air and carried you down on a sun-bleached cloud, Too True grabs you right from the start and pulls you through a dark, synthy 80′s lovesick dream. It’s glossy, it’s dance-y, it’s…safe. That’s the other difference between the two releases. When Penny calls out, “I can’t hurt you anymore,” in Lord Knows, from End Of Daze, she does so with conviction and a hint of desperation. Unfortunately, Too True loses some of this emotion and ambition in its production, so lines like, “Oh suck me up, won’t you take me away/I want to feel something today” from Too True To Be Good fail to really connect.
What is lost on the emotional level is made up for in the intricacy of the music. Album opener, Cult of Love, features an intense beat you might find in a freaky futuristic underground dance-club, while subtle yet maniacal synths trade spotlights on and off with reverb-drenched western guitar lines. Lost Boys And Girls Club moves with intense metronomic chilliness until its climactic outro, where a wave of distortion crashes behind the lead guitar, and Penny’s hushed vocals fade into the horizon. The albums’s closer, Trouble Is My Name, features the dreamy refrain, “Trouble is my name/Is it your name too?” before your dark journey is over and you’re returned to your reality.
Coming in at just about 30 minutes, Too True demonstrates adventurous leaping into some new territory for the Dum Dum Girls. But while the production and moodiness of the record are strong, the emotion that made much of their previous records such a pleasure has been a bit sapped.