Dum Dum Girls - Only In Dreams

[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.

Comments (19)
  1. What the hell? Who sucked the marrow out of this band? Their first LP bucked like a bronc. This is like a dumped over bowl of molasses by comparison.

  2. This is a cool feature, but you didn’t go with the Whole Love?!

  3. Dum Dum Girls seem like an older version of Wild Flag (or vice versa). They should both star in a tv show thats like an indie rock version of Gilmore Girls.


    • Michael_  |   Posted on Sep 28th, 2011 +2

      Great idea but let’s not forget the original show included guest appearances by Sonic Youth, The Shins and Yo La Tengo, namedrops of The Pixies, Belle and Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand, Arcade Fire and a soundtrack that featured inclusions by XTC, YLT, Ash and Elastica. It’s pretty safe to say Gilmore Girls is indie rock already.

  4. all the songs in this album sounds way too much like each other. after a while all that spring reverb just gets to ya..

  5. ddogdunit  |   Posted on Sep 28th, 2011 0

    coming down is a rip-off of “knocking on heaven’s door” right? am i the only one who things so? everything about the song sounds like it.

    • This is a tough call. I am inclined to say similar but not the same because for me, the significant rhythmic and tempo differences between the two somehow make them distinct entities. But yeah, there is no denying that that same basic sound is there. I don’t know why when bands have some tune that comes to them that is really great that they don’t automatically run down of a list of well-known rock tunes in their heads just to make sure they aren’t doing something that has been done before. It is very annoying when these kinds of oversights (which is all they usually are) make it onto a record. This also just happened with the new Wild Flag album. Half of the song, Endless Talk, is My Best Friend’s Girl by the Cars. I must confess I felt like yelling at them because a. it is the lone imperfection on an otherwise perfect album, b. they had other songs that were just as good that were not included on the album, and c. after seeing them live twice I went so far as to e-mail their label to say, “Hey, maybe see if you can dissuade the band from putting that song on the album since we both know it is basically someone else’s.”

    • It reminded me more of ‘Fade Into You’ by Mazzy Star

  6. ddogdunit  |   Posted on Sep 28th, 2011 0

    i thought so the first time i heard it, and the one time i was driving with my dad and it came on sirius XMU (like it often does, ugh, urbanoutfitterscore), and i said “what song does this sound like” ? and within a minute he too said “knockin’ on heaven’s door.” DADPROOF!

    also, im just waiting for the jackass to be like UMM ITS THREE CHORDS A MILLION SONGS USE THEM

    • Michael_  |   Posted on Sep 28th, 2011 +2

      My So-Called Life-obsessed gen-X mid-thirtysomething older sister took the obvious “This sounds like Mazzy Star’s ‘Fade Into You’!” route.

  7. I never heard of them before (or at least a song) and I liked this album. It reminded me some other band wich name I cant recall right now

  8. It’s The Jesus and Mary Chain, Best Coast’s record is called “Crazy For You,” and somebody should really proofread these articles before they’re posted.

  9. bedroom eyes is the only song on this album that works

  10. I hate when girls sway like that when they play guitar. it disgusts me and yet its a turn on. I generally find it both difficult and pleasurable to masturbate to.


  11. Not as good as the EP, but it’s solid. Bedroom Eyes, Coming Down, and Wasted Away are my favorites, but I think the others will grow on me with more listens.

  12. “Coming Down” is my favorite.
    Still have to listen to the EP they made between 1st and 2nd LP.

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