He Gets Me Highby Dum Dum Girls
Before heading into the studio with her band to record the second Dum Dum Girls album, frontwoman Dee Dee decided to record a few songs on her own. The He Gets Me High EP is the result of this solo trip. Recorded with help from I Will Be's producer Richard Gottehrer and Raveonettes member Sune Rose Wagner, the four songs show that Dee Dee is ready to step out of the bedroom and into the real-world spotlight. There is little trace of the fuzzy, almost defiantly crummy sound of the album; instead there are real drums, a variety of guitar tones, pianos, and a sound that jumps out of the speakers with energy on the uptempo songs and lends melancholy drama to the ballad. The biggest change may be Dee Dee's vocals, which are placed very high up in the mix. Too many times singers who used to be buried show you why they were submerged when you can hear them clearly. That's totally not the case here, because Dee Dee has a strong, clear voice with a dreamy, distracted quality that lets her lightly trip through the melodies, but also a soulful strength that comes out on the heartbroken and intimate ballad "Take Care of My Baby." If the tradeoff for the songs sounding a little slicker and less noisy and immediate is being able to hear Dee Dee sing, it's a good one. Besides, the songs are still very good. The title track has a bouncy melody and some nice guitar textures that unsurprisingly recall the Raveonettes' sound, "Wrong Feels Right" has a wonderfully charging bassline and thrilling dynamics, and the cover of the Smiths' "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" is charming and fun, with Dee Dee capturing Morrissey's vocal swoon and adding some extra sweetness. The EP is more than a stopgap between albums; it's a step in the right direction, and as fair as it may be to the other girls in the band to include them on future records, it's a shame this little team couldn't make more records like this.
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