With their board well waxed and feet firmly in position, Dum Dum Girls are sitting, well, surfing pretty at the crest of the wave of hype that is lo-fi. This burgeoning scene has had everyone from Brooklyn to Dalston (where else) hot and bothered since way back in 2008, when a wave of New York bands emerged, armed with a cathartic brand of energetic, fuzzy, punky pop.
From the lovelorn thrash of Vivian Girls to the comparatively downbeat Crystal Stilts, NYC has been the go-to for anyone interested in a melodic racket that tugs as much at the heartstrings as it does the eardrums. The bands gig together both religiously and relentlessly, and their impact this side of the pond has heralded the start of London’s very own lo-fi DIY scene, the leading lights of which (Male Bonding, Veronica Falls) are supporting Dum Dum Girls on this week long jaunt in the capital.
Seduced by pin badges, homemade posters and band-manned merch tables, London has fallen for lo-fi. Hard.
The buzz surrounding Dum Dum Girls is nigh on impossible to ignore, and despite that familiar feeling of apprehensive excitement, we were determined not to be let down by the all girl quartet. And, as if there was any doubt, half an hour in their company proves that not only is the hype warranted, but Dum Dum Girls may yet prove to be the most talented band to break out of this C86 indebted scene.
Underneath the disco ball in The Lexington, the band, all laddered tights, lacy dresses and attitude to the hilt, look amazing. Dum Dum Girls have, in no uncertain terms, a look.
More importantly however, the Spector-esque guitars and insistent Ronettes drumbeats, pitched alongside an impressive vocal, mean that they have a sound every bit as potent as their image.
Tonight the band race through their tried and tested demos, the likes of ‘Catholicked’ and ‘Don’t Talk To Me’ are impressive, but it is new single ‘Jail La La’ that elicits the best reaction. The set is bookended by a pair of ballads, which serve as a reminder that Dee Dee’s vocal is nothing less than beautiful. Lost to reverb and feedback in the majority of the songs, it becomes the focal point of the slower numbers, and this softer side is a welcome flex of the band’s musical muscle.
Above the shouts for an encore at the end of the set, she can be heard replying, “We don’t have any more!” And it is scrutiny of their very limited canon, alongside the at times, transparently derivative sound, where Dum Dum Girls become vulnerable.
However, these are minor quibbles that pale into insignificance given the fledgling status of the band. Signed to the legendary Sub Pop and with a debut album due later this month, these girls look set to eclipse the achievements of their friends back home and make an indelible impression on new music in 2010.
Words by Ben Homewood