Dumb - Pray 4 Tomorrow LP
Dumb - Pray 4 Tomorrow LP (Mint/Canada)
Listening Notes: Eighteen tracks of noisy Canadian slacker pop filled with attitude and dense horn honking guitars, sprawling rowdy fun that occasionally includes marching beats, academic punks, overambition that may overwhelm some, but works for me, and youthful swagger (ALA Pavement) with all the hooks.
Mood: Playing dumb when you are anything but.
DUMB had a classic start as a DIY outfit back in 2015, playing their first shows in the dining room of a tear-down in east Vancouver. The four band members, Franco Rossino, Shelby Vredik, Pipe Morelli, and Nick Short, were all part of a larger group of friends that jammed and partied together often. Seven years later, the band is set to release their third LP with Mint Records, Pray 4 Tomorrow—self-recorded at Choms, a studio co-owned by Nick Short and Franco Rossino. DUMB has toured extensively in North America and Europe, played with Wolf Parade and Dilly Dally, and are known for their catchy punk rhythms, squealing guitar feedback, and strongly spoken lyrics.
Over the years DUMB’s songwriting has developed, and on Pray 4 Tomorrow their pop sensibilities manage to shine through the dissonant tones and syncopated rhythms borrowed from Yo La Tengo and Devo. Consider “Excuse me”, which finds a Beach Boys-esque melody placed gently atop the drop-tuned dissonance of Rossino and Short’s duelling guitars, or “Gibberish”—a heavy hitting post-punk bop that culminates in a melodic instrumental piano outro. DUMB is doing their best to balance their noisier tendencies with pretty melodies, in an approach similar to San Francisco’s Pardoner.
Rossino’s vocals have matured from abstract rambling towards nuanced commentary, often poking fun at his own self-righteous attitude towards the stress of living in the information age. In “Out of Touch”, Rossino yells “I can see you talking but it sounds like simulations, I’m not sure I’ve got the patience, I’m already full of shit”. In “Gibberish” Rossino sings “thank you kindly but I think I’ll keep my eyes closed” on wanting to shut out the constant stream of targeted advertising.
Pray 4 Tomorrow is DUMB’s most refined album to date, but also their most eclectic mix of influences. There’s something for everyone on the album, with two Specials-influenced Ska interpretations, a couple of folk tunes with vocals from bassist Shelby Vredik, and a series of Minor Threat style B-side rants, all enveloped in the unique post-punk sound that the band has honed over the years.