Thursday, October 6, 2016

Dumb Numbers 2 - by Dumb Numbers - Stunningly Heavy, Trippy, and Oddly Beautiful

Dumb Numbers makes some stunningly heavy and trippy sounds. Often times the vocal performances are pushed back in the mix and through a heady mix of filters turning the atmosphere even darker, nosier and strangely majestic as well. The project of Australian musician Adam Harding features a rotating cast of friends and contributors. The second release entitled "Dumb Numbers 2" just dropped August 19th and the players include Lou Barlow (Dinosaur Jr. / Sebadoh), David Yow (Jesus Lizard), Dale Crover (Melvins), Murph (Dinosaur Jr.), Bobb Bruno (Best Coast), and more.

Sometimes when I listen to an album for the first time I head straight to the middle so in this case I pushed play on track 4: Essence - Existence. Controlled chaos would be an understatement. All guitars are gushing out bending walls of sustained fuzz and droning howling waves.  The plodding power felt like a massive machine that cuts through rock and metal. The drums fills and sometimes spastic beat is crazy good and let me say right now that this album is a drum-centric album. Sometimes as a musician I admire songs because of melody and over all sound and sometimes I love songs because they would be so much damn fun to play. Both reasons apply here and all the songs on Dumb Numbers 2 would be so fun to play. Mantra is equally alluring and abrasive and full of massive drum fills. It is noisey and laden with feedback. The vocals feel like they are front masked, that is to say they sound like back masked vocals run in reverse. It feels like Satanic rockers being self indulgent and just making noise and yet it is compelling. Finally the noise subsides and all you have are chanting that sounds demonic. Very weird.

Now other songs feel, quite frankly more like songs. Will You Earn A Star is full frontal heavy indie rock with almost gothic majestic lyrics. Again kick ass drumming. Some times the rock prog flows into the descending A to G to F heard in so many heavy metal songs like the end of Stairway to Heaven. Girl On The Screen plays so much more mellow and dreamy with a softly soothing vocal melody still awash, filtered through a gauzy sound. Unbury the Hatchet has a touch of Black Sabbath meets Iron Maiden meets Vast (kind of) and more- there is a band at the tip of my tongue on this song but I just couldn't remember. Stirred into this song is psychedelic sounds, goth metal sounds again with such cool proggy drumming.

The heaviness is never ending on this record and then you hear No one which shows such a different side to this project / band. Currently my favorite track on this record the beginning feels like flashes of memories like blinding sunlight through tree branches. Because there is so many opposing sounds and instruments it feels like a myriad of memories then all of the sudden the tone shifts to an organ and bass guitar which then falls away to keys and cool beautiful vocals "No one can hurt you...." -  Now mind you, heretofore all the vocal performances were more guttural, more abrasive and now the tone is more straightforward although it is still awash in reverb. Accompanied by a cello, light fender Roads-ish keys and big drums this song feels so fucking cinematic but with a decidedly abstract and almost creepy tone. It is sultry and scary. I thought of a naked Isabella Rossellini being terrorized by Dennis Hopper in David Lynch's Blue Velvet.

Wonder Why feels like a noise rock ballad almost. Dreamy and pretty. The drums are tom tom heavy but when the snare fills come they sound like gun fire. Such a cool song. There is (believe it or not) something very Moody Blues about it. The final track Sometimes There's No Next Time feels like a closer of sorts, moody as hell and feeling like peering around corners I could see credits rolling. As it builds there is a kind of chorale majesty until it is taken over by only drums and then discomforting synth sounds like scratchy radio transmissions.

Dumb Numbers 2 is full of sonic turmoil and even though it is a collection of songs it almost doesn't feel like it. It feels like waves of emotion, like unexpected rains or hurtful memories, tears at a funeral or a heavy metal church to save or destroy your soul.

Robb Donker

(you can here the entire album here)

1 comment:

  1. This musical group plays really cool music, I really like it! Thank you that you have recommended them to me. I definitely need to go to their performances) I will look for tickets to their concert at this site