Dum Dum Girls perform at The Social, Saturday March 12.
Dum Dum Girls: Minimalism to max effect
Dum Dum Girls take their minimalism seriously, from their stripped-down girl-group rock to their decision to limit their stage names to a single invented moniker. Singer Dee Dee, guitarist Jules, bassist Bambi, and drummer Sandy barely acknowledged the sold-out crowd at Johnny Brenda’s on Saturday night, or each other, for that matter. Dee Dee, whose real name is Kristin Gundred, parted with a few words at the beginning and end of the hour-long set, but other than that, she was all business.
Business, it turned out, was good, good enough to justify the ferocious buzz that has built around the band since it released its first album, I Will Be, last year.
Its propensity for matching stage outfits – all black, from Dee Dee’s paperboy cap to everybody’s mesh stockings – and the fact that I Will Be was produced by Richard Gottehrer, writer of “My Boyfriend’s Back,” has earned them reams of comparisons to the likes of the Shangri-Las and the Ronettes.
They owe as much, however, to the spartan melodies of Young Marble Giants, the fuzzed-out innocence of K Records bands such as Heavenly and Tiger Trap, and the swagger of the Pretenders.
Considering that the band began as a one-woman project, the foursome was spectacularly tight, ripping through songs with a precision and ease belying its short time together.
Local openers the Party Photographers were even more stripped-down, if less sartorially acute.
With only guitar, bass, and a pair of floor toms, their songs were drowned in distortion and echo. Singer Elizabeth Rogers was not always successful in making her way through the haze. Apparently that was the desired effect: After the first song, she asked for her voice to be taken out of the onstage monitors altogether.
The most intriguing moment of their set was a straight-faced cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon,” an ultra-low-fi version of one of the most immaculately produced singles of the 1970s. With its drumbeat pared down to a martial thud, the song sounded almost threatening, haunting, eerie and impenetrable. It was the rare cover that might force you to reconsider the original, and see both versions in a new light.