Vinyl LP, Cassette, Compact Disc (CD)
Vancouver-based band Dumb deliver sharp lyrics about the anxieties of modern life on newest album Pray 4 Tomorrow, its boisterous, jagged charms shaded with invigorating notes of subtlety and winking humor. Musically, the band build on a lineage of mischievous, eclectic post-punk typified by bands such as Gang of Four, the Minutemen, and Parquet Courts, yet they set themselves apart through their unexpected melodic zigzags, playful instrumentation, and disparate genre influences.
Opener “Foot Control” and its earworm of a bass riff introduce the listener to their sound, retro enough to be familiar yet just off-kilter enough to keep things fresh. Dissonant guitar shrapnel, mirrored in the lyrics about “a wild ride losing control,” keeps things interesting. On the anthemic, hard-rocking “Pensar,” drummer Pipe Morelli declares, “I don’t feel like reading sad poems tonight.” Whether it’s a witty takedown of indie pretension, a life-affirming declaration of happiness, or both, it’s a lyric that encapsulates Dumb’s musical approach.
Other highlights find the band stepping beyond the building blocks of their sound to incorporate a wide-ranging array of influences, from ska to hardcore to folk. “Dropout” features a trumpet accompaniment that matches the song’s snarky, world-weary wordplay, and “Gibberish” evolves from a spikey, punkish piece to a beautiful, haunting outro. “Strange is the Morning” is sweet and melancholy with hints of creeping unease, and “30 Degrees,” with sing-along verses and delightful vocal harmonies giving way to an anxious lyrical paranoia, further develops the band’s sense of musical tension and exploration. Pray 4 Tomorrow is a grab-bag of delights, from sour to sugary sweet.