Dum Dum Girls, Dingwalls, London
Dum Dum Girls are almost too precious to be real: a cyclone of scarlet lipstick, black lace and blissful girl-group harmonies, they're basically a 60s fetishist's dream made flesh. Indebted in equal parts to The Ramones, The Ronettes and The Jesus and Mary Chain, they've been getting the muso-blogosphere very hot under the collar both for their music and their looks.
Girl-groups and 60s psych-pop like this are very in at the moment in certain especially tasteful circles; it's perky and accessible, and you can feel superior about knowing all the references, but it's a limited genre. When each drumbeat is the same up-tempo one-two, no matter how intricate your vocals are, you're only really catering to a handful of purists.
It's true that they're good at what they do, and with two decent singers, Dum Dum Girls boast two more decent singers than most bands, but a slavish adherence to the two-minute diner-rock template sounds hopelessly one-note in comparison to the richness of the rest of the music scene at the moment. At the foot of it, DDG are just a fresh set of faces raking over 50-year coals.
Taken on their own merits, they're rather good, on top of all the tropes and doing everything correctly. They practically are female Ramones with songs like "Bhang Bhang, I'm a Burnout" and "Jail La La", but it doesn't hide the fact that the world has turned. The Sixties renaissance is long past, and primitive proto-punk doesn't tickle the zeitgeist any more.
It's also the kind of music that needs a crowd to play off it, presumably doing the twist with one another, but the reverberative nature of the music kills much of the ambience. There's no teen slam-dancing and only half-hearted cheers – full as Dingwalls is, it doesn't seem to be full of surf-pop diehards, and the show suffers.
They finish on a delightful cover of The Smiths' "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out", which is, tellingly, the best part of the night.
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