It’s been fascinating to hear the evolution of Dum Dum Girls over the handful of years that they’ve been around. They’ve gone from a lo-fi garage pop band to a slick, synth pop juggernaut, and it only took three albums and two EPs to make that transition. Basically Too True picks up where 2012’s End of Daze EP left off, which is a great thing since that was the best work they had done to date. The sound and spirit are there, particularly on tracks like “Cult of Love,” “Are You Okay” and “Too True to Be Good,” which are smartly structured and perfectly mixed to put Dee Dee’s powerful and rich vocals up front. Unfortunately, this album also falls prey to a lot of the same issues that former Dum Dum Girl Frankie Rose was met with on her latest (and similar sounding) record Herein Wild. You can hear greatness, and may have even witnessed it on a track like “Lord Knows” from the last EP, but for whatever reason on this album it feels like Dee Dee is holding herself back. Maybe it’s an artistic integrity thing or a desire to defy expectations, but it’s slightly frustrating to think that she’s wasting so much potential. For example, a song like “Rimbaud Eyes” takes the easiest and most expected structure, then trips up in its attempt to be lyrically unique thanks to difficult phrasing. In a sense the entire record is a small mess just like that, with nearly every track getting about 90% of the way to perfection, only to be undone by one aspect or another. One thing it doesn’t lack though is beauty, and thanks to some very clean production work it all sounds great on the surface. It’s when you start digging deeper that the issues present themselves. Here’s hoping Dee Dee can push past all of that mess to rediscover exactly what has made Dum Dum Girls such a compelling act these last few years.

Stream: “Rimbaud Eyes”

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