Review: Dum Dum Girls in the Button Factory, Dublin
It doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the fourth wave of feminism, but there have been a lot of female guitar groups populating the alternative rock music scene of late.
Haim, Savages, Vivian Girls, PINS, Girl in a Coma and Dublin’s September Girls, who are present and correct in the crowd tonight, are just a handful of prominent examples. Los Angeles starlets Dum Dum Girls released their third album Too True earlier this year on the influential Sub Pop record label, which brought the talents of a fledgling Nirvana to the world’s attention.
Their stage set is simple but extremely effective and keeps in with their identity and music. A bright blue neon love heart provides a striking back-drop. A bunch of flowers is tied to each of the three microphone stands.
The most glaring difference between the current line up and when the band played a cracking show in Whelan’s is that contrary to their name, they are no longer an all-girl proposition and there are men on rhythm guitar and drums. Incidentally, seeing as they appropriated their name from an Iggy Pop song entitled Dum Dum Boys maybe a gender mix is more apt after all.
Their opening song Bedroom Eyes immediately sets out their stall with jangly guitars, pretty vocals and a singular variation of ethereal pop punk spliced with playful and seductive lyrics. There are strong traces of The Bangles, Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Jesus and Mary Chain in their musical DNA. Curiously, the latter’s influence appears to be extremely strong in the current crop of alternative girl bands.
One of their breakthrough singles He Gets Me High typifies their infectiously breezy appeal. The band don’t really do a lot onstage apart from pout, look pretty and play extremely well. Lead singer Dee Dee Penny reserves her thank yous and banter until towards the end.
Recent single Rimbaud Eyes, which again reinforces a lyrical motif about eyes, is another highlight. They chip in a cover of ‘Sight of You’ by The Pale Saints, which serves as a reminder of an eighties indie heyday when they ruled the roost alongside Galaxie 500 and The House of Love.
‘Lost Boys & Girls Club’ and Coming Down end proceedings on a pleasant jangly high. While the show doesn’t quite hit the dizzy heights of their last show in Whelan’s in terms of atmosphere — you could literally smell the amount of indie girl crushes in the room that night — Dum Dum Girls offer up an entertaining master class in pouty pop and provide an excellent alternative to the Eurovision in the process.