Dum Dum Girls - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Dum Dum Girls - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

London-based dream-poppers Novella are already strummin' away when I get to the venue. Their sound is thick, feedback-heavy and very shoegazey. Underneath the sludge, of course, are sunshiny, bittersweet melodies, trembling vocals and (I'm guessing) lyrics of chaste, unrequited love. It's a neat, if utterly unoriginal trick and you are no doubt aware if it's one which can't fail to move you. The problem for me is that, judging from the brief encounter I have with them tonight, Novella don't have anything else going on. The three band members spend every song staring off into space, locked in their perfect alt-pop bubble. The look sort of otherworldly which is kind of appealing, especially in the case of soon-to-be guitar goddess Suki Sou. There's lots of noise, a lot of cool poses, but I'm not sure there's much beneath the surface. However, I'll be keeping an ear out to see what they come up with.

Next up are Veronica Falls, with a very C86 sound and threads to match. Their slightly 50s-ish rumble is a mix of amateurish strum and carefully observed melodies and dynamics. There's plenty of arch angst - with song titles such as 'Found Love in a Graveyard' and 'Beachy Head', you can't claim you don't know what you're getting with this band. Veronica Falls sound like they've spent their whole life up to this moment locked in a bedroom in suburbia listening to The Smiths, 60s girl groups and Siouxsie & the Banshees' first album. It's well put together but beneath their lovelorn gloom is a tweeness which threatens to devour them whole. Veronica Falls must work to keep that under control and endeavour to write more songs like the fabulously spooky 'Staying Here' with its multi-part harmonies.

Dum Dum Girls, of course, eat multi-part harmonies as part of a balanced breakfast, along with fuzzy, indelible guitar hooks, exquisite heartbreak, bedroom-based swooning and mascara which always runs with your teardrops. Their recent sophomore album Only in Dreams demonstrates how quickly Dee Dee's songwriting has evolved. The woman can write a dozen flawless pop songs in the time it takes other songwriters to choose the right setting on their effects pedal for their uninspired four-chord thrash.

The girls - looking as always, stunning - begin with 'He Gets Me High' and, as was the case when I saw them several months back, it feels like they don't manage to do justice to this fuzz-pop gem. I'm still not totally sure why that should be, since its the perfect opening number for them. The sound's a little ragged in places tonight and sometimes, as on the otherwise exultant 'Bedroom Eyes', Dee Dee sounds like she badly needs a Strepsil. But, hey, let's not nitpick. There's a certain appeal to their rawness tonight and Dee Dee never fails to sing her heart out. Curling her lip and occasionally snarling, it looks like she's living every word. As great a front-woman Dee Dee is, however, it's hard to take your eyes off guitarist Jules, who tonight is rocking a look like Dee Dee Ramone in drag. (Not an insult, by the way - The Ramones bassist was famously so pretty that, in the words of bandmate Tommy, "All you had to do was point a faggot at Dee Dee and you'd get a favour.")

The band zip through a load of newer songs such as 'Always Looking', unfortunately leaving out early bulls-eyes such as 'Jail La La' and 'Everybody's Out'. What we do get, thankfully, is a blast through their feral-sounding version of The Smiths' 'There is a Light That Never Goes Out', which is good enough to banish all thoughts of that dreadful John Lewis ad's co-option of 'Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want'. For the encore they give us 'Coming Down', a woozy power ballad which is very possibly about realising the person you've been sexually obsessed with is actually a massive bell-end. It's every bit as glorious as it is on record.

A couple of little niggles aside, tonight's set has been a triumph. Soundblab's love affair with DDG continues unabated.

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  • 12/12/2013
  • By Rich Morris