Dum Dum Girls don’t suck


(From left) Sandy (drums, vocals), Bambie (bass, vocals), Dee Dee (guitar, vocals) and Jules (guitar, vocals) look smart as Dum Dum Girls. Dee Dee, whose name is actually Kristin Gundred, recorded the band’s first album, I Will Be, by herself.

By Jessica Cabe


 Try to envision a fusion between the hypnotizing layers of The Cure’s Disintegration, the dreamy guitar tones of Smashing Pumpkins circa 1993 and the overall style of early 1960s pop rock. Throw in a little Blondie-inspired punk and you’ve got an idea of what Dum Dum Girls’ Only in Dreams is all about.

The album, which came out in the United States Tuesday, is the second LP from the California four-piece, which consists of lovely ladies under the stage names Dee-Dee (lead vocals, guitar), Jules (guitar, vocals), Bambi (bass, vocals), and Sandy (drums, vocals). Dee-Dee, aka Kristin Gundred, has been on the underground indie scene since 2006 with the formation of her band Grand Ole Party, for which she played drums and sang lead vocals. The band officially announced its split in 2009, but Gundred had been writing under the name Dum Dum Girls since 2008.

Only in Dreams clocks in at under 40 minutes, but what it lacks in length it makes up for in quality.

The album starts with a bang as the girls plow through “Always Looking,” a song that flawlessly blends darkness and dreaminess to create a unique and unforgettable new sound. Among the 10 tracks, there is not a single song to skip, but there are a few stand-outs.

“In My Head” is a deep, personal track with lyrics of yearning and the pain that comes with separation. Both Gundred and her husband, Brandon Welchez of Crocodiles, go months without seeing each other due to their touring schedules. “In My Head” is only one example of the recurring theme of longing for closeness while being so far apart.

“Coming Down” is the longest track on the album by over two minutes, but it is the best representation of the dreamlike quality of the music on this record. It begins with a lonely, distant guitar. As the tension builds, so does the layering, and by the middle of the track the listener is transported to a dream world that is simultaneously dreary and comforting.

The final track on the album, “Hold Your Hand,” represents another theme that Gundred deals with through her music: the death of her mother. “I wish it wasn’t true, but there’s nothing I can do/Except hold your hand ‘til the very end.” These lines repeat to the end of the song with vocals overwhelmed with emotion, carrying intensity characteristic of Fiona Apple or Eddie Vedder. The listener expects some sort of explosion at the end, but instead receives lonely drums reminiscent of a heartbeat which stops abruptly.

In a time and place where mainstream music seems almost thrown together by the powers that be in the music industry, an album like Only in Dreams is a welcome return of sincerity and honesty in music. The combination of personal lyrics, heartfelt vocals, impressive musicianship and spot-on production creates a record which will restore a naysayer’s faith in modern music.