Dum Dum Girls have come a long way in the past year. The band’s voice and heart is Kristin Gundred, a self-confessed introvert who’s emerged from her shyness with a Siouxsie Sioux-like stage persona named Dee Dee. Part of that coming out has involved inviting fans into the more intimate places of her life; the band’s next record, due out in the fall, sees Dee Dee dealing with her mother’s death. Her mother appeared in a hazy high school photo on the band’s 2010 debut, I Will Be, as well as their first EP.
Notably, Dee Dee is featured alone with a guitar on the cover of He Gets Me High, the newest EP, in what appears to be a pretty clear statement of identity. Don’t expect too much out of this little record, though – it’s largely meant to be a light appetizer before the main course. While the sophomore release is sure to be darker, He Gets Me High stands as a nice transition between the two records. Fittingly for a band so influenced by ’60s girl pop, it’s a quartet of love songs, and though they’re not all happy ones, their ear-worming jangle-pop could easily fit in among I Will Be‘s best tracks.
The EP opens with “Wrong Feels Right” and “He Gets Me High,” two fantastic if fleeting songs about the dizzying flash heatwave of courtship. Heartbreak and pining follow on the dreamy “Take Care of My Baby,” and a cover of “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” that would do the Moz proud. It’s a short but sweet Valentine of a record, clocking in at less than 15 minutes, with two of the most ebullient songs lasting three minutes or less. But despite its length, fans are getting their money’s worth. The record as a whole feels a little more refined than I Will Be. The thicket of fuzz seems to have been pruned back a bit, pushing Dee Dee’s voice further to the forefront, which is just more of a good thing.
There’s nothing prettier than a dirty angel, and He Gets Me High strikes that perfect balance of muddy, psychedelic-tinged rock and roll and gorgeous female vocals that mixed so well on its predecessor. The title track especially is proof of how catchy the band’s paisley-flavored bubblegum can be. And though it’s not an original song, Dum Dum Girls makes “There is a Light” their own, adding a little more crunch to a classic. He Gets Me High isn’t very long, and it isn’t terribly deep, but it’s a perfect spring album. It gives Dee Dee’s fans what they want – namely, more of the sound that made I Will Be a hit – while they anticipate seeing her move boldly forward as a songwriter.