Good news everyone, Dumb came out with a new album! And this time they’re emulating art rock idols, Parquet Courts, in full force. For instance, the track “And PC,” the title of which seems to nod directly towards Parquet Courts, is a tune that creates the perfect backdrop for the nightly cruise to pick up munchies from Mac’s with your friends at 3 a.m..
But Mustang Law certainly has moments where it shines. “Esmari” is an upbeat, surfy track that’s sure to stay in your head for several days, with its punchy and infectious melodic riff that sounds like the graveyard behind Dumb’s Beach Church. And you’re going to chuckle when you hear the cheeky, elevator-music remix “Esmidi” that wraps up the album. “Falling Apart P2” is another gem, with a riff and melody that swings and swerves throughout the song, not unlike one of Hunter S. Thompson’s escapades through the Mojave Desert.
The songs are consistent, for the most part, except for “Untitled.” Here there’s a dissonant, almost unpleasant intro, primarily composed of vocals that feel like berating spoken word sprinkled with feedback. Suddenly, the track picks up the pace into what actually becomes Parquet Courts’ “Light Up Gold II” verbatim, just without the catchy chorus. If you hear the two together for yourself, you’ll see what I mean. Still, that wouldn’t stop you from putting them on the same playlist.
While Dumb sustain their signature humourous and laidback minimalism on Mustang Law, it feels like this album is missing what makes Dumb, for lack of a better word, Dumb. Beach Church, released in February 2016, had its own character. And the album branded Dumb as stand out performers in the Vancouver scene. The songs on Beach Church were either delicate or deliberate, and the name fit the album like a glove. But Mustang Law has an identity crisis. It’s just too “Stoned and Starving” (and let’s be honest, we’ve all been there).