Dum Dum Girls: Too True 

After channeling the Pretenders heavily (and to good effect) on 2011's Only in Dreams, Dum Dum Girls sound much slicker on Too True, a record in the vein of marketable but bland "indie" bands like Metric. Every song has the veneer of a hybrid car commercial or a party sequence from a teen soap airing on The CW, from the singsong verses on "Evil Blooms" to the junior-prom balladry of "Under These Hands." Commercial indie music has its place, but Too True is a letdown if listened to with memories of the scuzzy, raucous promise of the band's 2010 debut I Will Be.

Lead single "Rimbaud Eyes" is a serviceable rendition of the New Romantic disaffection embodied by, say, A Flock of Seagulls' debut album back in the '80s. "Lost Boys and Girls Club" takes post-punk and re-imagines it with the consumerist sheen of an IKEA showroom; you are suddenly aware that we are all pretending something actually lives in a space that exists only to embody the idea of living in a space.

Not that Too True doesn't have moments of charm. "Too True to Be Good" is one of the best songs on the album, a late-'80s take on 1960s girl groups. It's a small reward in the midst of a lot of pallid material, like the boring ballad "Trouble Is My Name" or the eye-rollingly named "Little Minx." Too True feels more like a marketing concept than an album.

More by Sean Bottai


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