Dum Dum Girls @ Dingwalls, London 05.04.11

With the release of new EP ‘He Gets Me High’, which has been praised for its greater emphasis on pop sensibility in relation to the ultra-lo-fi debut full-length ‘I Will Be’, the hype surrounding Dum Dum Girls has grown extortionately. With recent positive reviews of the group cropping up left, right and centre, it has become difficult not to become interested...

Apr 5th, 2011 at Dingwalls, London / By Frankie Reeves
Dum Dum Girls @ Dingwalls, London  05.04.11 Dum Dum Girls have grown a solid reputation as one of the coolest girl bands on the planet – they possess a wonderful combination of vintage influences, noisy guitars, monochrome outfits and pretty faces. The songs have choruses, the band are tight and the live vocal harmonies are seamless. They do what they do well, but somehow, amidst all of these positive attributes, there is still not enough to sway the non-converted.

The group were quite interesting to watch, especially drummer Sandy who, with hair completely covering her face throughout, played with an introverted aggression that was as inviting as it was unnerving. Dee Dee was commanding too; although relatively static, her short bursts of jagged movement suggested an urgency that was immediately reflected in audience each time.

The monochrome attire, moody aesthetic and projected video visuals, which flicked sharply between greyscale and vibrant colour, effectively complimented the band's lo-fi musical delivery and post-punk influences, but the group did little to separate themselves from any other Beach Boys-and-Ramones-influenced noise pop band.

Dee Dee spoke rarely, and although this served to provide another dimension of mystery that added further to their image, it made it difficult to distinguish between songs, some of which sounded almost identical to each other.

The main faux-pas however was the encore, just one song in length – a cover of The Smiths' ‘There is a Light That Never Goes Out’. To be fair, the Dum Dum Girls version was a brave adaption, and their trademark post-punk vibe gave the track a different meaning, more sinister and less romantically helpless, but every band knows that there is no band harder to cover than The Smiths, and it is the desperation and emotional fragility of the original track that makes it so timeless and so difficult to reproduce. The adaption was a fair effort, but it was tough to listen to a track so loved by so many and feel quite indifferent.

It is easy to see why people have fallen in love with Dum Dum Girls, they have all the right elements that a band need to be brilliant, and from the audience reaction at the end of the set they didn't disappoint their followers, but they did nothing special enough to coax the neutral audience member into a fan. There were a number of moments where they had our attention, but they were fleeting and too infrequent to develop a genuine interest.