I Will Be

Videos by American Songwriter


I Will Be


[Rating: 3 stars]

If Dum Dum Girls’ retro pop sounds more convincing than that of the countless young garage groups trying to recreate the girl-group harmonies of the 1960s, there’s good reason. The group’s debut album, I Will Be, was helmed with producer Richard Gottehrer, who in his youth penned teen hits like “My Boyfriend’s Back” and “I Want Candy.”

That’s not to say that the Dum Dum Girls’ record is a rigidly classicist homage to girl groups, though. Much as the Ramones’ sessions with Phil Spector retained the band’s punk intensity, I Will Be stays true to the barren, lo-fi aesthetic of Dum Dum Girls’ early singles, polishing Kristen “Dee Dee” Gundred’s songs merely to the point where they no longer sound like demos. The album aches with nostalgia, but not for any particular time, drawing as much from the wound-licking reverb-pop of the Jesus and Mary Chain and the chipper bubblegum of The Bangles as Gottehrer’s soda-fountain hits.

Sub Pop Records abruptly signed Dum Dum Girls just weeks after the band played their first show. I Will Be will leave some listeners questioning what the label saw in the group, since there’s nothing revelatory about Gundred’s slight songs about first kisses and totally dreamy boyfriends. For listeners pining for the innocence of adolescence, though, I Will Be makes for a mighty pleasant half-hour escape.

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