Monday, 4 March 2013

Dumbo Gets Mad - Quantum Leap

Album review by kev@thesoundofconfusion.co.uk


Is it the band name or the album cover that gives it away? Italians Dumbo Gets Mad make willfully off-kilter music that could be described as psych, but not as we know it. Certainly they get off to a suitably unusual start with 'Before Kiddos Bath' which is quite unlike anything you've heard before, and to be honest we're not sure whether to love it or hate it. There's a frankly weird take on funk pop on 'American Day', which is splendid but sounds totally wrong, and they follow it with another spin on funk, this time with an eastern, psych slant on the magical 'South Africa (Crystal Balls On Roll)'. Again it should probably sound like a vile mess but it really is a great tune. Imagine The Polyphonic Spree if they fully transformed into an alien space cult of happy-clappy beings from another dimension; that's Dumbo Gets Mad.

They find what could vaguely be described as familiar ground on the twisted retro pop of the ace 'Indian Food', there's 'Future Sun' which reimagines George Clinton as a lo-fi acid-fried warrior with a broken production desk, the hazy disco of 'Bam Bam' where all of a sudden Boney M are cool, more sounds for the universe's weirdest dance floors are found on 'Cougar' which is nearly an attempt at a modern pop song. They do 60s pop too, but of course their version comes as though its viewed through a hall of mirrors. They call this one 'Soft'. The epic last track is, naturally, a common factor in albums of many kinds and this is no different, well, it is different in that it sounds like a selection of random bits of leftover song, but it's not different in the fact that there is one and it's called 'Punch & Tea (With Venice)'.

There's the odd point where they record what could be a spectacular song but can't be arsed with mixing it properly, so it ends up as a curious what-could-have-been. We're sure this is the plan too. See the distant soul of 'Radical Leap' or the what-the-hell-is-this-supposed-to-be genre-mashing of 'House Of Love' which is followed by an unusual interlude called 'Maleducato'. The entire album has the feel of an experiment beamed in from another dimension where strange beings have heard a few decades of our pop music history, not really understood it at all, and then tried to recreate it, resulting in 'Quantum Jump'. And if that's not reason enough to give this album a listen then we don't know what is.







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