The Serpentine – The Dee Dee Dums

The Serpentine is the debut EP of the Dee Dee Dums. Released in 2004, the pre-Tame Impala project features Kevin Parker on guitar and Luke Epstein on drums. The band won second place in AmpFest, and also went on to win third place in the Next Big Thing State Final in Western Australia in 2005. The EP consists of five songs that showcase the band’s exploration into the wilderness of Australian soundscapes.

The EP opens with “You Haven’t Been Telling The Truth,” the track that went on to become “Half Full Glass of Wine. The song unveils an alter-ego to the beloved track, making itself known in crunchy guitars and bold lyrics. “You Haven’t Been Telling The Truth” takes the track in a new direction with its overlayed vocals, clap beats, and general punky attitude. It’s pretty clear that this one is a prototype but it’s cool to hear an early stage of what would go on to be such a gem in the Tame Impala discography. 

Swing” instantly captivates listeners with its infectious swing jazz beat, an irresistible invitation to hit the dance floor. While participating in a battle of the bands, Parker transitioned to drums for this track, showing off a little bit of his multi-instrumentalist swagger. The combination of swing jazz elements and the band’s spirited performance make this track a standout on the EP.

Gainy guitars and punky vocal performances take the limelight on track 3, “Lonely Words.” This track absolutely originated out of Parker’s teenage angst. As they stir up a racket in the background, the instrumental rockets along energetically, keeping a sense of grit close to the chest. 

The star title track, “The Serpentine,” flows forward amidst massive garage rock riffs that melt into gooey sludge rock. All the while, Parker makes a ruckus in the background, shouting at the peaks. As the track stretches on, it grows rowdier and the rockers set out on instrumental runs of their own, calling back to their influences like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. The track culminates in one final wave and we hear Parker holler “WOO” and the song crashes into conclusion.

Into the Jungle” claws its way through rugged psych riffs, delivering a powerful vocal performance from Parker. This track descends into madness with drums pounding, droning distortion, and hallucinogenic vocals. The track swirls into itself until it reaches a breaking point and begins to pick up speed one last time. As we hear Parker scream in the background, the record closes out.

The Serpentine does a good job of showcasing the Dee Dee Dums’ musical range, from blues-driven rock to swing jazz and rugged psychedelic guitars.  It provides a glimpse into Kevin Parker’s earlier years in music and his development as a musician and songwriter. My favorite aspect of the project is just how raw and high octane some of the moments are. Hearing them stir up commotion while having fun in the background is just a blast to listen to. While by no means a flawless record, its flaws give it character and provide a lot insight into the younger years of the Aussie frontman. Still, The Serpentine is a must listen for any devout Tame Impala fan, boasting some of the heaviest and hardest tracks Kevin Parker has ever written.

Favorite Tracks: The Serpentine, Swing, and Into The Jungle

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *