Dumb offers an embarrassment of riches
$5 or Free (Independent)
With new releases popping up on Bandcamp by the dozens each day, the online music hub’s oft-used pay-what-you-want business model can be a bit of a gamble.
Ideally, it’d be great to slide a couple of bucks into every independent act’s digital coffers, but the site’s unending logjam of material inevitably means some bands are going to have cheapskates simply streaming their songs for free.
Vancouver quartet Dumb is feeling pretty Zen about it all, addressing the sliding-scale scenario with the title of its latest EP, $5 or Free. Going by this latest batch of songs, it already possesses an embarrassment of riches.
While the group is still working within the same postpunk wheelhouse, the six-song mini-set comes off with a bit more urgency than last year’s Mustang Law effort. “Break Right” is the briefest slam of the bunch, a potent subminute of java-jolted power chords and choppy rhythms.
Earlier, the pain of farewells is underscored by tom-tom–heavy propulsion and a distant blur of guitar noise on “Sink”, which brings to mind early Pavement. Likewise slanted and enchanting are “Borrow”, which mixes sweet yelps with allusions to car crashes and roadside effigies, and “Good News”, a distortion-dusted but otherwise delicate finale.
Whether you cough up the full five bucks or go Grinch on Dumb by just nabbing the tracks for free is entirely up to you, but you’d have to be some kind of moron to pass it up altogether.