Danity Kane refugees Aubrey O’Day and Shannon Bex have been teasing this new project for a minute now. Following the collapse of the ill-fated DK reunion last year, these two regrouped and rebranded themselves as “dumblonde” promising fans that an EP was on its way this past spring. While the EP never surfaced, they assured everyone that bigger and better things were on the way and after a steady stream of Instagram teasers, we finally get a taste of what the blondetastic duo has been up to with today’s release of five new tracks!
I proceeded with caution as the press bio described their new musical direction as “alternative dance/pop” citing La Roux and The Ting Tings as influences which meant there was an equal chance that the ladies either got this risky switcheroo right, or things could have gone terribly left. Fortunately for the duo, the gamble pays off though fans hoping for the pop sheen of “Damaged” or the hip hop leanings of last year’s “Lemonade” are gonna get their feelings hurt; you’ve been warned.
I didn’t listen to the songs in the order that they are sequenced on the album so my listening experience might differ from yours. My introduction to this Dumblonde movement was “White Lightning” and the initial moments suggested things were gonna get all Avicii up in here but the track thankfully is not the EDM festival bro jam I feared it would be and it instead develops into a spacey mix of trap, southern hip hop and vocals that bounce between trancey and stuttery. “Dreamsicle” picks up the pace a bit and while Aubs ‘n’ Shan might have been aiming for La Roux, I’m getting a strong Betty Who vibe with this one as it fearlessly dives into the pool of 80s synthpop. “Eyes On The Horizon” is a standout for me and it’s the sonic sweet spot where a rubbery baseline drunkenly swerves throughout a beat that at times recalls “Hollaback Girl” while the ladies’ dreamy vocals coast over swirling keyboard lines. “Tender Green Life” might be the song that gets the most love from diehard DK fans as it embraces the new sound while also incorporating the urban/pop feel of their past hits. The final track finds the ladies in a Danity Kane x Major Lazer state of mind with the “Sucka For Love”-esque digital reggae thump of “Remember Me” serving as a soothing tropical conclusion to the too cool for fist pumps late night dance party that kicked off with “White Lightning”.
This five track preview suggests that these blondes aren’t so dumb after all as they’ve emerged from the ashes of their former group pushing a strong collection of songs with solid production and a striking image campaign that is part American Horror Story: Coven and part jaded Olsen twin club kids. While I applaud their decision to not chase music trends (No Dr. Luke/Max Martin tracks! No rapper features!), it will be interesting to see how they plan to market a decidedly not-so-commercial album… and to whom?
The video for “White Lightning” doesn’t get me as excited for this project as the music does, but you can check it out below as well as LQ snippets of the tracks they’ve released so far. There isn’t much up on their official website yet but you can read up on all things dumblonde over there and sample higher quality (and longer!) clips of their music on iTunes.
** Updated with full track previews but it’s YouTube so it could get yanked at any time. **
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