Album Review: Dumb – Chew Me Up, Spit Me Out EP

For England’s second most populous city, Birmingham hasn’t had the impact on the landscape of British music that it should. Correct me if you can think of any more considerable, but in the mind of this writer, only heavy metal has been majorly influenced by Brum, having produced titans such as Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. However, looking to join modern indie compatriots such as Peace and Swim Deep are young quartet Dumb, who attempt here to bring the sounds of 80s/90s “slacker” or “college” rock (dependent on which name you prefer) married to the everyday tales and languid vocal style of Wakefield indie rockers The Cribs. Dumb seem destined for the big time, which makes this offering seem all the more cynical in putting so much effort into trying to sound effortless.

Imagine if Pavement, Pixies or even early R.E.M. had a production job that was anything but shonky. It wouldn’t sound right, would it? However, the glossy presentation gives tracks like ‘Dive’ a shimmer that feels all wrong, in a manner that suggest the Reading mainstage-core sound of bands like The 1975 and The Vaccines. While frontman Dylan Williams’ alternating sigh and sneer (which has more than a little Gallagher-esque tilt to it, especially on ‘Two Bottles’) attempts its level best to bring some semblance of soul to proceedings, this is a rather staid and beige affair. Even their website handle screams of a wantonly silly affectation – Dumb are here for mass consumption, and don’t care if they have to use “txt speak” to get there.

Further inspection reveals that Dumb were born from the ashes of Foals-esque The Carpels – are they the Midlands version of Viva Brother, who eschewed their post-hardcore trappings to chase the big bucks of (their words, not mine) “gritpop”? Whether the bullshit detectors will pick up this quartet remains to be seen, but seemingly unstoppable Birmingham hype machine churns out its next candidates – will it ‘Chew (Them) Up, Spit (Them) Out’? On this evidence, one can only hope so. Watch out for these chaps in an electronica act sometime in 2016.


‘Chew Me Up, Spit Me Out’ EP by Dumb is out now on Tip Top and One Beat Records.

Dumb links: Website|Facebook|Twitter

Words by Ollie Connors (@olliexcore)


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