Only In Dreams

REVIEW: Dum Dum Girls - End of Daze

On their 2011 album, Only in Dreams, the Dum Dum Girls took a major step forward in their development as a band, deepening their sound and moving beyond the polished stylistic sheen that had largely characterized their earlier work.  However, the power of the album was largely rooted in lead singer Dee Dee’s experiences coping with the death of her grandmother and long, tour related separations from her husband (Brandon Welchez of Crocodiles).  Due to the singular nature of these experiences, it was unclear at the time whether Dreams would represent the beginning of an ongoing stylistic evolution for the Girls, or wind up as an inspired aberration.

Fortunately, the new EP puts those concerns to rest as it builds on the more nuanced arrangements and personal themes introduced in Only in Dreams while providing a degree of closure missing from that earlier effort.  Dreams ended with the heartbreaking “Hold Your Hand,” a song that explicitly describes the helplessness of watching a loved one pass away.  Indeed, the last words sung by Dee Dee on the album were “But there’s nothing I can do/But hold your hand/til the very end/til the very end.”  In many ways, End of Daze can be seen as the natural conclusion to Dreams (The title itself indicates as much), cauterizing the ragged emotional wounds laid bare on that LP and pointing the way to a (hopefully) brighter future. 

LIVE MUSIC: Dum Dum Girls @ The Black Cat - 2/12/12

Style and substance.  The tension between the two has pervaded and, in many ways, defined the output of the Dum Dum Girls during their brief career.  Their first LP, I Will Be (March 2010) and follow up EP, He Gets Me High (March 2011), were collections of tight, raucous tunes that showcased the group’s consciously cultivated girl group/punk image.  They were enjoyable albums with a distinctive (if familiar) style but the songs tended to blend together and, overall, lacked the personal touches and unique voice necessary to elevate these albums to greatness.  Indeed, the most memorable thing about both albums was the style of the group itself, rather than the individual songs.