The gum-smacking gutter pop of Dum Dum Girls’ full-length debut I Will Be is a rough-edged cinderblock that’s been blasted off of Phil Spector’s sweepingly dramatic “Wall Of Sound” productions of the early ’60s. The state-of-the-art grandness of those pre-Beatles girl-group hits has been scuffed up and shattered, but the feisty attitude and relentlessly catchy hooks remain as indestructible as ever. Working under the adopted name Dee Dee—a name shared by members of obvious touchstones The Crystals and Ramones—head Dum Dum Girl Kristin Gundred is as puritan in her adherence to self-imposed restrictions as Jack White, dealing strictly in droned-out guitars, simple syncopated drum parts, and echo-laden choruses ideally suited for cheap transistor radios. The result is a gooey acid cupcake of a record that mixes sexy menace with near-virginal sweetness on songs like the opening track, “It Only Takes One Night,” which screams with the calm reassurance of a ’50s sex-education film. A swirling cloud of lo-fi murk clings to the album’s 11 tracks, but it can’t conceal the huge harmonies of “Jail La La” or Gundred’s perfectly executed collision of cool detachment and surging emotion on the makeout ode “Rest Of Our Lives.” Sometimes it’s difficult to discern what exactly Gundred is emoting about—particularly on “Oh Mein M,” which is sung in German—but whatever she’s getting at, I Will Be always sounds erratically adolescent in the best possible sense.
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