Who runs the world? Yes, that’s right… girls, but more specifically, The Dum Dum Girls. The California quartet has returned with their sophomore album, “Only in Dreams,” a collection of up-tempo tracks typical of the West Coast, beach-happy characteristics possessed by many past and current bands of the pop genre. Yet, although some may say that it never rains in Southern California, the sunshine of “Only in Dreams” is overcast with clouds as the group delves into the emotional and dark topics of losing and longing for a loved one.
Contrary to The Dum Dum Girls’ first release, “I Will Be,” “Only in Dreams” features vocals from all four band members, resulting in a nostalgic sound reminiscent of The Supremes combined with the Beach Boys. Furthermore, in a music industry positioned far from an oversaturation of girl groups such as that which was present in recent years, an empowering tone is delivered through the classical harmony and acoustic, beat-driven flair that is displayed on the summer anthem, “Bedroom Eyes.” This continues throughout the album, and offsets the rhythmic balance, as lead singer, Dee Dee Penny introduces the lyrical content of the passing of her mother on “Hold My Hand,” a touching reflection of the last few moments that were shared with her. Yet, despite the sadness that is conveyed in the words, the upbeat, sunny California theme is not lost and shines through the strumming guitars and soft vocals.
“Only in Dreams” by The Dum Dum Girls is refreshing for two reasons. For one, there is a lightweight element portrayed in a sea of heavy subject matter, largely due to the fact that the band did not succumb to a variety of depressing ballads and instead opted to permeate a much more positive energy to the listener. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it renews my belief that the “girl group” is not just a remnant of pop history and that females still serve an important role in today’s music. If anyone thinks differently, I dare them to face four females armed with fierce vocals, guitars, and drums. Whoever is willing to do so is a big… dummy.