Dum Dum Girls get smart
The difference between the music of “I Will Be,” the Dum Dum Girls’ 2010 debut, and this year’s “Only in Dreams,” is undeniable. Yet singer and guitarist Kristen Gundred tries to deny it. At least at first.
“To me it’s not a dramatic shift,” she says. “It’s part of a process.”
The singer, who writes all of the songs and goes by the stage name of Dee Dee, says that if there is any difference, it may have to do with her recording setup.
“When I started, it was just something I was doing in my spare time in my house — the first songs I had written, my first attempts at recording myself — and the context of what I was doing was very different,” she says, “but what I do, it hasn’t changed much. I write simple pop songs, and try to infuse them with meaningful words. That’s always been my deal.”
It’s hard to tell if she’s being humble or stubborn. While all Dum Dum songs do fit Dee Dee’s description — both albums showcase an appreciation for both the classic songs of the ’50s and ’60s as well as the punk rock that followed in the next two decades — the biggest change is that on the debut, the guitars flood over elementary melodies, while the “Only in Dreams” sound is full of proud and pronounced melodies that float on top of richly textured instruments and background vocals. Dee Dee at times even sounds like Pretenders singer Chrissie Hynde, a comparison which would have never worked for the first album.
The lyrics are also more sophisticated on the most recent offering, at times dealing with the singer’s mother’s fatal illness.
One thing that Dee Dee will admit is that her tone has definitely changed.
“I was sort of into having a bit more of a nonchalant tone at the time,” she says of the debut, “and that’s just not appropriate for the most recent batch of songs.”
‘Gets Me High’
The Dum Dum Girls EP from this summer, “He Gets Me High,” is a perfect transition between the two types of Dum Dum sounds. It also features a killer cover of The Smiths’ “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.”
“A lot of times, it’s just a song I love,” says Dee Dee of her covers philosophy. “Or it’s something where regard- less of the style … there’s an undeniable pop element of the song I can cover in a very Dum Dum Girls way.”