The California quartet's new EP is gorgeous in its elegiac sadness, from the lovely keen of their Strawberry Switchblade cover, "Trees and Flowers," to the dizzying harmonies on the pop melodies of "Lord Knows" and "I Got Nothing." Despair has never sounded so radiant.
End of Daze finds lead Dum Dum Dee Dee dipping into her darkest subject matter to date, starting with the solemn opening track, "Mine Tonight," in which she sings, "I've dreamed a death/It's mine tonight" and eventually reveals the song to be a eulogy for herself. "I Got Nothing" speaks to an encompassing emotional numbness, "Tree and Flowers" to the natural world as a prison; "Lord Knows" opens with some of the most regret-stricken, heart-piercing lines in recent memory: "I want to live a pure life/I'd say that it's about time." The EP sounds near-suicidal until you reach its closer, "Season in Hell," which is sonically brighter and crisper than the other four songs and also offers up some final words of rehabilitative hope: "It's been a season in hell... But doesn't the dawn look divine?... Lift your gaze/It's the end of daze."
From self-destructive desires to a dead stupor, bitterness, remorse, and finally the blessed appearance of hope and relief, the way the Dum Dum Girls capture a full cycle of grief in just five songs is quite a remarkable feat.
End of Daze comes out next week on September 25, but it's streaming in full right now via Stereogum: