Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

The New (not so) Dumb

January 7, 2009

2008 album Let’s Get Lucky by The New Dumb can be summed up in one word: catchy. I don’t mean that in an ironic way, or with any sort of sarcasm. As I listened to their latest work, I found myself humming along, doing a little groove in my chair. I drew comparisons to The Raconteurs, with a hint of The Hives or The Killers. They’ve got a solid indie/punk/rock thing going on, and they’re worth checking out.

Allston, Massachusetts, band The New Dumb has been around since 2003, when, in their words, “Rock music was ready for a messiah. Instead, they received The New Dumb.” They’ve played mostly in Massachusetts and New York, though a 2007 tour saw them hit places like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Baltimore, and Washington, DC. Prior to Let’s Get Lucky, they’ve released This Could Be Disastrous, their debut EP, which came out in 2006.

Let’s Get Lucky opens with “Pea-knuckle,” a cool, entertaining number that really gives you a good feel for their sound – it’s got relatively simple rhythm, but it works. What really sets it apart from other bands’ songs are the vocals – both lead vocals, performed by guitarist Foster Hoyt, and backup vocals, done by bassist Jason Edmands. The group is rounded out by drummer Brian Rusnica (who, according to their promo material, hardly sings).

As I familiarize myself with The New Dumb, both through their music and by checking out their website, it has become obvious that at least one of these guys, and perhaps even all of them, have a great sense of humor. More than anywhere else, this is obvious in their third track, “The Viper The Bison The Weasel The Whale-Man” (from here on out, I’m just going to use TVTBTWTWM). The lyrics for the song are silly, frankly, and this is underscored by the accent that Hoyt affects for the performance. TVTBTWTWM opens saying, “Oh, the viper says/ My poison rests when I’m finally fed/ I don’t believe you/ The bison says/ But the bison is dead.” The instrumental side of things underscores the lyrics with up-tempo beats and explosive hits.

My favorite of this six-track album is the last – “Dance Solo.” It starts with a simple electronic intro, eventually adding in bass, drums, guitar, and vocals. More than anything, it sounds like a bit of Ok Go got mixed in, and that’s not a bad thing. This song is really fun – simple, but fun. “Dance Solo” is easily the best song of the album; it transitions perfectly from electronic-influenced stuff to rocking my face off in the span of about five seconds. On a side note, The New Dumb absolutely made my day with this one – near the end, they threw in some cowbell! Awesome.

Let’s Get Lucky is a cool rock album that is deserving of your attention. From “Pea-knuckle” to TVTBTWTWM, The New Dumb knows what they’re doing, and they do it with a swagger that few can pull off. If you’ve got some cash burning a hole in your pocket, this album would be a great way to spend it.

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Comments: (2)

On February 13, 2009 Dave Jones wrote...

I just love your weblog! Very nice post! Still you can do many things to improve it.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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