Comedian Amy Sedaris proffered a method for getting a rid of a tune stuck in your head: sing to yourself the commercial-ending phrase “By Mennen.” Of course, the joke is that one annoying tune is simply replaced in your head by another annoying tune. Lately, various choruses from the second Dum Dum Girls album, Only in Dreams, have been stuck in my head, and I’m not exactly sure if that’s a good thing or not. On many of the album’s songs, each chorus is a single phrase repeated four times, as if the group is really trying to hammer it into your consciousness. On “Bedroom Eyes,” it’s “Oh, I need your bedroom eyes.” On “Teardrops on My Pillow,” it’s “Teardrops on my pillow.” It seems kind of insipid when you break it down like that. However, these are pop songs, not doctoral theses, and pop songs are like jingles (and vice versa) that are selling fun.
Only in Dreams features a no-nonsense pop-rock simplicity, akin to the more moderate releases by The Jesus and Mary Chain with a touch of ’60s girl-group pop. However, it doesn’t quite have the pop brevity that would have given the album a stunning, hit-and-run impact; several of the album’s songs don’t have enough ideas to sustain their durations. This release is a lot cleaner sounding than the debut album, I Will Be, which had a much different sonic style with roughed-up vocals and more reverb. The more defined, slicker production values may be disappointing to fuzz-lovers, but they reveal something that might not have been apparent before: lead singer and front woman Dee Dee (real name: Kristin Gundred) has a really great voice, somewhat reminiscent of Chrissie Hynde, that deserves better. That voice can take her far, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she eventually earns fame, fortune, and maybe even endorsement opportunities for Speed Stick.