On an especially warm May evening, frontwoman Dee Dee Penny and her touring band came on stage and mesmerized their audience with a darkly soft set. The band preferred to let their songs speak for themselves, displaying a cool detachment throughout the night. In fact, the only time Dee Dee cracked a smile was when a drunk audience member shouted something inaudible at her that obviously amused her.
Dum Dum Girl’s latest album, this year’s Too True, marks a new phase in Dee Dee’s career, trading in garage rock for a post-punk interpretation of dream pop that is markedly influenced by the likes of Blondie and Siouxsie Sioux. It also happens to be Dum Dum Girls’ best-received album to date. The Dum Dum Girls perfectly combine sweet sounds with moody guitar work on stage, showing a hard edge while still conveying vulnerability. Their uniformly short songs all melded into each other creating a murky, droning sound that was magnetic. A slowed down version of the new track “Are You Okay?” was a definite high point, but Dee Dee saved the showstopper for the very end with the epic “Coming Down” from the 2011 album Only in Dreams, written while Dee Dee was mourning her mother’s death. Coming Down shows off Dee Dee’s singing chops as she belts out impressive notes and loses control in just the right way.
Dee Dee’s unabashed confidence and punk attitude is reminiscent of front-women like Debbie Harry and Chrissie Hyde. It is reassuring to know that the new generation of no frill, talented women singers is thriving.
Review by Eli Lewy