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Have You Heard… Dum Dum Girls?

Songs of 2014 – “Rimbaud Eyes” & “Lost Boys and Girls Club”

by Amanda Smith & Olivia Smith (no relation)

If Dum Dum Girls make you think of 80s rock, it’s no mistake. Echo pedals and sound walls of thick reverb are abused in the tradition of The Cure. Sharply defined guitar riffs are balanced on top of deliberate bass lines like Siouxsie and the Banshees. Vocals confine themselves to a limited range, taking a cue from Depeche Mode. Intentionally cliche lyrics bounce off terse gothic poetry references reminiscent of The Smiths.

Theirs is outwardly simple pop using complex methods based in Britain’s gloomiest musical period. Their songs don’t take you on a journey. They build a moody, mythic soundscape around the listener instead. They choose being relaxed and focused over being anthemic or epic.

Like a pleasant wine, there are subtler notes: Belle & Sebastian’s ironic harmonies, Pat Benatar’s dancy messaging, Bat for Lashes’ painterly idealism, Joan Jett’s airy insistence. You could call Dum Dum Girls a pastiche of all these influences, but they blend it all into their own, unmistakable creation.

It’s not rave music to pump you up before a game, but it is the music to put on repeat one lazy Sunday or for a long road trip. These are the kinds of songs that make you feel like your surroundings hold more depth and possibility.

Have You Heard… is a stream of song and band recommendations, many of which may be new to you. It’s also the kind of analysis that’s missing in a music industry obsessed with image and celebrity instead of the music itself.