Dum Dum Girls burst onto the scene in 2008 on the strength of visceral, yet messy songs and the charisma of vocalist Dee Dee Penny. But as the one-woman project morphed into a full-fledged band, that primitive grit has been incrementally sanded down, revealing a new polished side to Penny’s aesthetic.
On the arresting and catchy new record, Too True, Dum Dum Girls once again turns to longtime collaborator Richard Gottehrer — who wrote “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “I Want Candy,” and many other hits — to assist in capturing that sparkle of 1960’s girl-groups and slick ’80s pop hooks that resonate throughout.
And on highlights like “Too True To Be Good” and “Are You Okay?” it’s clear Penny and the band has dialed down the scuzz of those early recordings, and crafted a bed of chiming guitars and dreamy keyboards to better showcase Penny’s sharp pop songwriting and gorgeous vocals.
Lyrically, Penny unfurls some of her most personally emotional lyrics, in lines like “Why be good? / Be beautiful and sad / It’s all you’ve ever had,” in “Evil Blooms.”
For many artists, it can be tricky to shift fans’ expectations with a dramatic tonal change. But with Too True, Penny and Dum Dum Girls find success by staying true to these songs and the sonic scope they aim for. As Penny sums up in the chorus of “Little Minx,” “What a vivid sound.”