When Dum Dum Girls issued its first full length effort, last year’s I Will Be, the band’s combination of indie and noise-pop drew in just about everyone and filled up venues from one end of the nation to the other. He Gets Me High pretty much continues where that debut left off, creating fuzzed-out numbers that are both aggressive and inevitably catchy. While there’s nothing that will get your attention as quick as “Jail La La” did, the EP does have plenty to offer in its short 15 minutes.
It all begins with Sandy’s heavy, rolling drums for “Wrong Feels Right”. Dee-Dee’s vocals may seem smooth at first, but they show hints of pressure and panic underneath the surface. While the verses are straightforward assortments of riff and chords, the pre-chorus is pop-rock at its best, full of ringing guitars and echoing harmonies. The chorus itself is short but strong, creating a whirl of instruments behind clear, deepening vocals, almost like they’re breaking the surface of reverb in which they’re usually swimming.
The title track is a bruiser of a rock song, immediately notable for its powerful, distorted bass capable of leveling mountains. The vocal harmonies are almost Beatles-esque, with a singsong quality that balances out the rough instrumentation. The ending 30 seconds boost it up another notch as Dee-Dee repeats the chorus over and over, backed by ascending harmonies. The problem is that, besides the interesting bass and vocals, there’s simply not much else worth listening to on this number. The guitar and drums seem almost overwhelmed by the lumbering rhythm, so they stick to fairly simple patterns that grow tiresome.
The second half of the EP, “Take Care of My Baby” and “There Is A Light” move a little outside the formula to which Dum Dum Girls have kept faithful. The former moves at a slow, steady pace that allows it to build and put all the focus on dramatic, passionate vocals. Chiming guitars shine out of a wall of reverb, giving the whole thing the feel of an early ’60s ballad. The best part of the song, though, is the understated drums that sound like they’re being played at the bottom of a long stairwell. The closing cover of “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” sounds like The Smiths by way of the early ’90s. It’s a rough and raging interpretation that trades out the melancholy of Morrisey’s vocals for Dee-Dee’s excitement of all life and love have to offer. The arrangement stays close to the original, but the Dum Dum Girls put their own spin on it with distorted guitar effects. Rather than being lighter than air, it is transformed into a heavy beast of a song.
He Gets Me High is a worthy stop-gap between Dum Dum Girls’ debut and whatever comes next. While it’s a very short experience, that works in the band’s favor, eliminating the filler that plagues many albums these days. Combine catchy melodies in every original song with a pretty awesome cover of The Smiths and you have a project that’s definitely worth a listen and probably worth a purchase.