Wednesday, June 18, 2014

REVIEW: Dub Thompson - 9 Songs

The core of Dub Thompson is 19-year-olds Matt Pulos (guitar/vocals) and Evan Laffer (drums), who grew up together outside of Los Angeles.  Perhaps it is a testament to the power of the internet that in their short lives they have been exposed to so many diverse musical influences.  And it is a testament to their talent that they have been able to use those influences to create the always entertaining, and frequently exciting, 9 Songs.

The album begins with the guitar/drums noise rock of "Hayward!", which begins with belching riffs, and then adds hooky guitar.  Shouted vocals are added a few minutes in, and then the song transitions into an extended jam.  We don't wait long for the change-up, as "No Time" takes us into dub rock/reggae territory.  Next, "Epicondyles" combines an ominous bass riff, shout-sing vocals and a judicious use of space to create on of the more interesting songs on the album.  Track four is the standout tribal groove of "Dograces".  By now the listener has detected strains of Pere Ubu, Gang of Four and even The Fall here.  The emphasis is on rhythms and jagged hooks, with occasional blasts of sunlight lightening the proceedings. Tracks five and six allow the band to flex their instrumental predilections, while "Ash Wednesday" is a sleazy vamp.  Noise rock comes back in the frame in fine fashion of album closer, "Pterodactyls".  Yes, that's right -- 9 Songs consists of only eight songs, so don't make yourself crazy looking for the hidden track.

I suspect a lot of the attention on Dub Thompson will be on the potential shown here, and there is reason for that.  But I submit that 9 Songs stands on its own merit as a fun listen.

9 Songs was release on June 10 via Dead Oceans.  It was produced by Foxygen's Jonathan Rado.

Dead Oceans

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