Nov 18, 2022
By Matt the Raven
Dumb’s third LP is an ambitious, fashion free affair of energetic fuzz-rock that’s gritty, sassy, and honest, and occasionally very catchy. But too often the band are sidetracked and trip it up with short dissonant bursts and unpredictable shifts in dynamics and tempo, ultimately resulting in an erratic and inconsistent album.
At their best, Dumb’s musical touchstones include the jumpy rhythms of Bodega and the buzz-rock of Silverbacks played with the rowdy energy of Car Seat Headrest. If you like the touchstones, you will certainly like some of Pray 4 Tomorrow but probably not all.
Played enthusiastically, the schizophrenic rhythms and fuzzed out squiggly guitar interplay are exciting but are just as often challenging. Regularly shifting gears from soft and slow to loud and fast, through rambling and sprawling to high and tight, you don’t have to wait long for a shift in style and/or function. On standout tracks such as “Gibberish,” “Dropout,” “Civic Duty,” “Quarter Stereo,” and the one-two raucous punch of “Out of Touch” and “Fully Compromised,” Dumb mix it up nicely and weave some colorful and snappy melodies with the wild post-punk, creating the perfect yang to the yin of their scruffy and sharp sound. They even manage to sprinkle in some ska-inspired spirit while turning the fun meter up to 10 on “Sleep Like a Baby” and “Pull Me Up.”
Unfortunately concocting these unique grooves proves unsustainable for the entire record and the band’s ambitions eventually get the better of them on too many tracks as the sound dissolves into an over-fried alt country twang with sub-par vocals. The sometimes discordant vocals—not quite whiny nor out of tune, but you can make the case there are those tendencies—create distractions as the nondescript rants are neither grabbing nor catching and act more like threadbare window dressings to the mundane song structures.
Dumb cram a lot of music onto Pray 4 Tomorrow—seven of the eighteen tracks clock in at under two minutes each with only the closing track topping three minutes—some of which is definitely worth a listen for those adventurous souls looking for a jovial racket but is also sometimes uninteresting, making for an uneven album that is mostly appealing if not inconsistent. (www.dumbband.bandcamp.com)
Author rating: 6/10
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