Canadian punk outfit Dumb is anything but. The group’s mix of punk and slacker rock is something to be reckoned with. Although these styles define the basis of their sound, Dumb has plenty of cool tricks up their sleeve, utilizing a plethora of tools from all over the spectrum of rock and deftly using them to add unique twists and turns in their songs. In their latest album Club Nites, this comes in the form of rock n’ roll shuffles and twangy surf embellishments, with their specialty being spiky riffs that ooze with dissonance. The innocent looking cover of two stick figures jumping over a fence to get to a club doesn’t quite paint the depth and wit with which this album is constructed. Thankfully its 14 track listing shows no such restraint.
The opener and title track “Club Nites” crashes through with cranky power chords that introduces the band’s crazed intentions. Jagged guitar riffs, groovy bass breakdowns and violent feedback outlines the mix while frontman Franco Rossini delivers vocals that sit in between a rant and stand up monologue.
“Submission” follows with rock n’ roll swagger and surf twang. The song teeters in between jangly and heavy, with the noise eager to crash and burn in between breezy guitar shuffles. This kind of see-saw dynamic appears again in “Don’t Sleep” where Rossini delivers a patchwork of anecdotes that paint a picture of someone dreading their lack of adult life skills.
And this is the overarching theme of Club Nites. The unstable guitar riffs struggle to maintain a balance while Rossini’s lyrics evolve into rants, slacker musings on life and even vitriolic diss on a track or two. The combination of both is enough to cause vertigo on the listener, with only the catchy hooks and clever commentary to keeping things afloat.
But it’s not always noise and chaos. Both “Cursed” and “Cbc Radio 3” give the record a much needed slow burn. The former speaks of someone reflecting over their cursed existence: “The weakling in my head is scared and hiding away”. The latter finds Rossini comforting an old friend who’s going through a rough patch.
Overall this is a great album that should satiate anyone looking for a clever and quirky angle of punk. “Concrete Jungle” is my stand out favorite, where the band steers to an observation on how bombarded we are in our media and advertising. With the line: “Sell me a consistent worldview without all the fuss” and “Talk to me / try to drop the motive”, urging me to do a double take on my media consumption. Truly, Dumb is as profound as they don’t say they are, and that’s the genius of it.