After practicing many of the songs on Seeing Green over the past year at shows around Vancouver, Dumb release their first full-length on Mint Records this June. It’s a logical step from a band that clearly works hard and has boundless energy to deliver tight sets while continuously mocking the most ostentatious of Vancouver’s wealthy.
Seeing Green’s songs don’t stick around long, but dip their toes into math-rock, surf and patches of country — kind of like if the Pixies were interested in being comprehensible. Vocalist Franco Rossino’s sardonic delivery is at turns convincingly self-deprecating and condescending, with clear contempt for many of the characters that pop up throughout Seeing Green. Lyrics like “Send an invoice / Call your lawyer / Capital discourse / Tom Sawyer,” have fun at power’s expense, proving that Dumb know that a viable way to be punk is just making capitalists look freaking uncool.
Highlights include the first single “Mint,” which packs meandering guitars and cooing backing vocals into a quick pop punk tune. Perhaps one reason why Dumb have remained so prolific for the past few years, playing what seems like a show every weekend, is that they are actually having fun. Midway through the album, the energetic “Party Whip” smartly aligns political compromise with loser schmoozing. “Cowboy,” another highlight, includes a mathy bassline interspersed with staccato strumming and a gravelly vocal delivery that takes a sudden left turn into twang territory after the two minute mark, making every second of this song delightfully unexpected.
Production is handled by Jordan Koop and the style could be described as spartan. His dry treatment allows for each instrument to be easily distinguished, highlighting Shelby Vredik’s basswork and Rossino’s lyrics. But at times, like the lurching “Artfact” or album closer “Roast Beef,” there’s a lack of atmosphere to the recordings. Texture is swapped out for clarity and some of the kinetic energy of these tracks is lost in this transaction.
The 14-track span of Seeing Green covers your party tracks, anxious outbursts and downer ditties. Dumb write short anthems that see the band work in sync to make a catchy, surprising and self-assured album.