On the cover of Dum Dum Girls' third album, singer-guitarist Dee Dee Penny stalks the bluelit night looking like a vampire Pat Benatar. That's the music's vibe, too: sleek, tough, pouty indie pop streaked with black-eyeliner distortion and glossy melodies. Songs like "Rimbaud Eyes" and "Evil Blooms" more than live up to their fashion-goth titles. But Penny is best opening up her sound on big, searching ballads like "Lost Boys and Girls Club," where sad Madonna hangs with the Jesus and Mary Chain, or the Chrissie Hynde-worthy weeper "Are You Okay?" where Penny wanders in a "lavender haze" ("I'm reckless at night/I'm sorry for days"), wearing boozy misery like a black-leather security blanket.
From The Archives Issue 1202: February 13, 2014