When an artist emerges to prominence (to the point of having a track featured on FIFA11), embracing a lo-fi, garage recording ethic, it only seems natural for that artist who began all lo-fi and stripped back to progress to an eventual polished pop record. Or does it?

Californian all-girl indie pop group Dum Dum Girls began life as the solo project of front-woman Dee Dee Penny, writing songs solely on her beloved acoustic, the demo's released were rough and ready, covered in blemishes and scum. By the time Dee Dee enlisted her fellow band members, and with the 2010 release of their debut album I Will Be, Dum Dum Girls were a fully formed band. Eager not to completely abandon the band’s roots, however, their debut remained a little rough around the edges, produced in a vein similar to fellow garage rock girl group Vivian Girls; a distinct progression, but not a giant leap. Only In Dreams,  represents a more defined removal from the past album, whilst taking a definite shot at making Dum Dum Girls big news. Bigger news than FIFA11. FIFA12 perhaps?

Released on Sub Pop, Only In Dreams sees the band embrace the sugar-sweet catchiness of previous songs such as ‘Bhang Bhang, I'm a Burnout’ and spread it across a much shinier surface. The guitars possess a similar amount of fuzzy tone, the songs still have a buzzing energy about them, and Dee Dee’s vocals have never been shoddy or stylistically casual, but the new album has lost a bit its original naivety; it’s displays far greater business acumen, fully aware of its market. Not cynically, but progressively the band have worked out what made the last couple of releases work and have accentuated their “pop” factor. .

Unfortunately, embracing it as a glistening pop album has somewhat hindered the band’s original tendency to create an absorbing and intriguing ambience. As a result, songs like ‘Just A Creep’, ‘Heartbeat’ , ‘Caught In One’ and ‘Wasted Away’ unfortunately lack any standout qualities; they are all the same tempo, sometimes the same key, faultless little pop songs. Where the album works best is in the sweeping, rattling ballads such as the blissfully woozy ‘Coming Down’ and the sonically engulfing, ringing guitars of ‘Teardrops On My Pillow’. When the album isn’t attempting to blind you with pop perfect production quality, the songs become more alluring, the emotion becomes more attainable, Dee Dee’s sorrowful croon even more moving. When they are being all sassy and over-produced, they become disappointingly aloof and akin to any other girl group in the charts trying their hand at the whole 60s vibe thing...

That said, could Dum Dum Girls really have released an album which crackling vocals, muffled snare drums and guitars so fuzzy that it make your teeth feel funny? Yes. But they probably wouldn’t have had as much fun doing so. Only In Dreams is a progression which will benefit the band, but probably not the fans who admired their original DIY spirit.