Published Jun 05, 2019Here's a band that pump out material like the world is about to end (which it is). Vancouver's snarky indie rockers Dumb are already on their fourth album, having averaged a new one every ten months. They keep churning out short, wry tunes with a no-frills sound that channels post-punks like Minutemen and Parquet Courts (or, to cast a wider net, Pavement meets Fugazi). This year's Club Nites is more approachable than last year's Seeing Green, but that doesn't make it any less loose and unfettered.
The guitars are grimy and jangly. The rhythm section keeps busy. Singer Franco Rossino's slick, cynical lyrics are not really sung, but spoken plainly (and occasionally shouted), not with what you could call excitement, but more like weary agitation. As a diatribe about the "nightlife ecosystem," Club Nites takes a bleak view of its makers' social surroundings. Energetic tunes like "Submission" and the title track betray their exhaustion with the bar scene, while the lilting "Content Jungle" makes media overload seem almost charming instead of soul-crushing.
Dumb are blasé in their delivery. They're jaded and perpetually annoyed with the absurdity of people and the way they act. And while they're snide and sarcastic, it would be wrong to call them haughty or aloof. These are fun songs, and part of what makes them fun — for them, and for us — is that they can be so gleefully petty.
For what could be aptly described as "slacker punk" — what if Mac DeMarco had a twin who loves Descendents? — the record picks its moments to try something different. There's a wildly unexpected saxophone improv that sets "Beef Hits" apart from the rest. "De Más" is sung in Spanish and ends with a metal riff à la Pantera. "Cursed" is a slow jam with big Pavement energy (or maybe lethargy is the better word).
All throughout, Dumb lace their upbeat songs with jagged dissonance to keep things weird. Club Nites is the work of a band that give a shit, even if it seems like they don't. (Mint)