Dum Dum Girls – End of Daze

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End of Daze is bold and methodical, delivers moments of great strength and touching vulnerability, flies high, digs deep, and it’s only 18 minutes long. In other words, it’s anything but dumb. Lead vocalist, Dee Dee, anchors this five-song EP that lands in a foggy space between gothic new wave and thoughtful garage rock. Her vocals are fluid, soulful, and, above all, genuine with lyrics that speak to personal tragedy. This makes for a final product that is both intimate and energetic – something sorely lacking from many full-lengths. The disc moves from chants to ballads with walls of sound that are sonic and lush, bringing to mind images of waves crashing into an immense cavern. The atmosphere is definitely dark, but also uplifting and triumphant.
Opening track, “Mine Tonight,” comes in with a commanding guitar riff followed by a hymn that builds to a sonic explosion. “I Got Nothing” is even more profound with a rousing chorus that showcases Dee Dee’s ability to make a mood tangible. The tangled guitars of “Trees and Flowers,” (a Strawberry Switchblade cover) bring the EP down to its most somber moment, but lifts with “Lord Knows.”  Easily the most satisfying track, the song plays off of the legendary guitar riff from “Crimson and Clover,” but chooses to focus on a graceful melody that doesn’t rely on the reputation of the song’s influence – an example of using your inspirations intelligently.  “Season In Hell” takes you out of the darkness with an energetic beat and reverb-soaked guitars. It’s an uplifting closer that brings the EP out of the doldrums for some fresh air. Despite all its strengths, first impressions might not be kind to End of Daze. It’s an album that deserves multiple listens before the final judgment. Wait for a quiet night to dive in, and then take a few days before your next swim.  (Sub Pop, subpop.com) Matthew Dyck

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