The New Lines, Sapphire Mansions and Dum Dum Girls
January 30, 2014
Too True, Dum Dum Girls third and latest album, released a couple of weeks ago by Sub Pop Records, and the album reveals a decided change in sonic direction for the band – their first two sonically owed a great debt to 60s girl-fronted pop and early rock and lyrically focused on heartbreak, heartache, and other affairs of the heart. “Rimbaud Eyes” and “Lost Boys and Girls Club,” the first two singles released from the album reveal a New Wave/Goth-inspired sound with guitars chiming with reverb, and a clean, studio polish. Lyrically, the material manages to move away from the heartache of the previous records, and reflect a conscious attempt to be even more direct. And although different, the material retains a seductive feel – in fact, it may be the most seductive work they’ve done to date.
So as you can imagine, the band is touring in support of the album, and their Mercury Lounge show at the end of January served as their album release show – and a bit of a homecoming show.
Opening the night was the quartet of the New Lines, whose sound owed a great debt to 60s psych rock – thanks in part to a twisting, turning sound bolstered by organs. Although their sound was trippy it was plagued by two things – their lead vocalist really couldn’t sing; and perhaps more important, after about the first three or four songs of their set, their songs started to sound extremely similar, making their set feel kind of long.
Following them was Sapphire Mansions, whose sound was much more New Wave-based – think Echo and the Bunnymen, R.E.M. and others – with bits of organ here and there – but it hewed so closely to their influences that it was difficult to hear where their sound started and their influences stopped.
By far, the MVP of the night were Dum Dum Girls. Although their set was delayed a few minutes due to a variety of technical issues, including problems with band members hearing each other through their respective monitors. Now, as i mentioned before, I saw the band before during the 2011 CMJ Festival, and it was unfortunately, one of the worst sets I had seen in some time – a set that was memorably bad. But their Mercury Lounge set was incredibly polished yet loose. They played a loose, jam-like “Bedroom Eyes” off Only in Dreams that managed to retain the 60s inspired sound. The live version of “Lost Boys and Girls Club” was more of a slow-burning track that created a heightened sensuality while being extremely dark.
The New Lines
Dum Dum Girls
For these photos and more, check out the Flickr set here: