Album Review: DUMB - 'Club Nites'
DUMB are anything but. They are genius.
On the face of it, DUMB’s music is delinquent-sounding indie post-punk. They write songs that appeal to the outsiders and dropouts without any shame. Club Nites has a Sub Pop vibe about it. You could imagine DUMB write and play these songs to a select crowd and that no one really “gets them”. But if you use just an ounce of your brain and ears, you’ll realise they are a lot more than that.
Obviously, there is a heavy 80s alternative influence on all the songs (listen to the J Mascis style solo in ‘Knot in My Gut’) but there is a child-like and simple approach that is very Jonathan Richman/Modern Lovers-esque. DUMB, despite the name, are really quite brilliant.
Club Nites features two previously released singles – the title track and ‘Beef Hits’. ‘Club Nites’ starts the album off perfectly with its snaky riff and punchy powerchords. It sets you up for what is to come and makes you want to listen to the album in its entirety. The manic track ‘Beef Hits’ also hinted at what the album was to behold too. Here, DUMB present their intelligent use of the quiet/loud soft/heavy dynamic that all great bands have taken advantage of – bashing the opening chords with what sounds like a baseball bat to melodic riffing within the first few seconds. And this is a technique that DUMB use throughout Club Nites. They play clean and quirky riffs to lure you in and then hit you with the fuzzy heaviness in the solo/instrumental sections. You can hear this in tracks such as ‘De Mas’ and ‘Columbo’ that have a Nirvana vibe about them, particularly in the solo/outro respectively. And ‘Submission’ begins with a 60s garage-esque riff that sounds a bit like The Kinks or The Who, then goes into almost punk-metal.
Not all the songs use this set up. DUMB have found a style and sound that they can use in different ways to create many interesting and different songs without pissing off the listener. ‘Cursed’ is a laid-back jam that gives you the feeling of the aftermath of heavy drinking – a pleasant hangover if you can imagine such a thing. But then track after ‘My Condolences’ goes back to the fast and quirky riffing. DUMB won’t let you off the hook that easily.
But DUMB also have great lyrics. ‘Don’t Sleep’ has a brilliant line: “Don’t forget to the dishes, walk the dog and brush your teeth”. DUMB pick on the mundane aspects of life and give them an almost surreal, and certainly quirky, twist on them.
DUMB may have a silly name and take the piss in songs such as ‘Club Nites’, but this album is brilliant. Whether the band know it or did it intentionally, they have used intelligent song writing under a layer of apparent delinquency to create a wonderful album. Get your ears around Club Nites.
Words by Matthew Brocklehurst