[Every Tuesday, Stereogum will pore over the week's official releases and offer a closer look, and listen, at the one we're most into. This week, that album is Dum Dum Girls' Only In Dreams.]
Dum Dum Girls new album, Only In Dreams, is the best thing the group has done, and that’s no underhanded jab at their earliest songs, the solid debut I Will Be, the hazier earlier self-titled EP, or the bridge He Gets Me High EP that Sub Pop put out in March. What’s immediately clear is just how much more assertive Dee Dee’s vocal work and songwriting is compared to anything else the outfit has produced; although its March EP He Gets Me High suggested a movement toward cleaner, more strident songs and away from the grungy, The Jesus And Mary Chain foggy rattle that the group once favored, I didn’t expect the jump to be this broad and to be landed so expertly. But it is. So, there.
The best, or maybe easiest demonstration, is “Bedroom Eyes” which has rightfully been put out as a single. As a whole, Only In Dreams displays a highly sharpened knack for melodies and bridges, while also containing more hooks than a featherweight title fight. It’s a logical step from the moods and feels of Best Coast’s Crazy For You but it exhibits more range and emotional dexterity. Where releases like I Will Be and Dum Dum Girls had a lot to do with feel, Only In Dreams is all muscle, effortless kicking around of melodies and surf guitar riffage. Where, a mere year ago, I saw Dum Dum Girls as just another pretty-good outfit occupying an already crowded vibe (that sound being, surfy, sugary tracks), and now I see Dee Dee’s prolific and consistent garage-rock writing as a sort of logical female counterpoint to Jay Reatard’s. So, the bar has been reset a little. Bethany Cosentino better come correct!
Easy early recommendations: “Bedroom Eyes,” “Heartbeat,” “Coming Down.”
Take this one:
Only In Dreams is out today on Sub Pop.