Song 196: Dum Dum Girls, “Lord Knows” (2012)


Sometime between the Dum Dum Girls’ 2010 debut I Will Be and Only In Dreams the following year, the band matured. A lot. I Will Be isn’t a bad record, but it’s so disjointed and rough around the edges that it’s hard to know what lead singer and songwriter Dee Dee Perry (who was, for that first record, the band’s sole member) had in mind.

Follow-up Only In Dreams, on the other hand, is uniformly gorgeous. Reverb-drenched and haunting, the record sounds like Mazzy Star and Luna mixed in a blender. Perry’s voice, once thin and punkish, had deepened into a Chrissie Hynde-like growl. It sounds like Perry knew she needed to graduate from the bedroom-project aesthetic of her debut to something more mature.

The following EP, End of Daze, has the same sound. “Lord Knows” sits in the middle of its track order, as if Perry knew it was the centerpiece. I don’t think I could describe the song’s brilliance better than Pitchfork’s Lindsay Zoladz, who wrote that “it taps into the strange sorcery of the greatest rock’n’roll songs, possessed with the power to set the world in slow motion for four commanding minutes.” I think “commanding” is an especially apt description: the song, with its hazy drums and hypnotic vocals, is mesmerizing.


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