Dum Dum Girls’ 2011 release, Only in Dreams, marked a drastic improvement both in terms of recording quality and songwriting ability from Dee Dee’s earlier releases on Hozac and Sub Pop Records. Unintentional as it may have been, however, the sheen added by producer Sune Rose Wagner of The Raveonettes came with a downside — Instead of sounding like the Dum Dum Girls, a band primed with jangly, garage-pop, poised for the elusive next level, the band now came off as an imitation of The Pretenders, albeit one with lesser pop smarts and lesser presence. Consequently, “Lord Knows,” from the forthcoming End of Daze EP (9/25 on Sub Pop), feels like the correction to a career arc dangerously veering on the edge of anonymity. Dee Dee’s voice, while still charming, strong and expressive, is just a tad gruffer during this ballad. While the percussion, although drenched in echo, is not the standard dream-pop style. It’s as if they gave up on the cathedral effect and settled for a shed with higher than average clearance. Together, these elements when paired with gradual, morphing guitar tones, lend Dee Dee and the rest of the Dum Dum Girls that much needed, and much missed, sense of self.
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