5 April, 2011
Man, is there anything cooler than chicks with guitars? Sexist? Maybe. Sex-y? DEFINITELY! Fantastic an album as It Will Be is, and much as we’re all into the lo-fi girl group thing, when Dum Dum Girls are playing live without the veneer of Richard Gottehrer’s hairtrigger reverb-finger, you can kind of hear the songs. Despite displaying some of the trappings of the girl group thing – pseudonyms, outfit co-ordination (maybe that’s just a girl thing [more sexism I LOVE IT]) and instrument waving – Dum Dum Girls really are just a badass guitar-pop band, harmonising their way through two minute wonders over a snappy backbeat.
Although ostensibly a solo vehicle for Kristin ‘Dee Dee’ Gundred to gush about her boyfriend (a man infantilised within an inch of his life by the regularity of her use of the word ‘baby’ [unless they are literally songs about babies, which is perhaps possible]) when they perform (as they are tonight at Dingwalls – come on, this is a gig review, keep up) Dum Dum Girls work as a unit. Call and response hasn’t been employed so effectively since Sleater-Kinney broke up, and the Dum Dum harmonies and choruses in a live setting sort of make you realise that despite apparently recording an album entirely inside a tin can, they are actually very good singers. Plus they do sensitive as well, yeah? ‘Rest Of Our Lives’ and ‘Baby Don’t Go’ are slices of woozy balladry (don’t say ‘dream pop’, just don’t) and I would literally hump ‘Take Care Of My Baby’, a song so wistful and lush it belongs on a Twin Peaks soundtrack.
To nitpick, the only jarring note is that the their badassness is tempered slightly by the astonishing level of gushing in the lyrics, as 99% of Dum Dum Girls’ song output seems to be about how great Dee Dee’s boyfriend is. Come on Dee Dee! You can write songs not about boys, I know you can! Maybe you could do a song about how happy you are that it’s Friday for example? Did you know it’s the day before Saturday? On the strength of the sea of fringes and plaid shirts bobbing ecstatically in the crowd though, she is so awesome that her baby probably is better than you. That’s a reference. To one of the songs.
Whipping through a dozen songs in half an hour and following an encore that includes a nifty version of ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’, with a coquettish wave goodbye and a nonchalant sip of herbal tea (laced with crack! Not really) they leave the stage. The man next to me audibly sighed. I went home and wrote a poem.