Vancouver’s Dumb have a wry observational swagger that recalls Richard Hell and The Voidoids, Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers and Devo all in one, albeit just that little bit noisier. Given that whoever came next on my turntable after THAT Springsteen record was always going to have an almost impossible task even attempting to meet expectations, I’d say these college rock Canadians have made a damn good fist of it, however. Something as playfully irreverent as Club Nites is just ramshackle, and different, enough to prevent lazy comparisons with any of Dumb’s contemporaries, although it certainly bears contrast – on the opening (and title) track – with LCD Soundsystem‘s ‘Drunk Girls‘. I guess that figures – club nites, drunk girls…
For a while, it seems like we’re possibly in album of the year territory, though unfortunately it is rather front loaded and runs out of steam somewhat after about half a dozen or so absolute belters.
It’s difficult not to feel a little frustrated in your slight disappointment at the end, like if you were watching the highlights of the Wimbledon final, having avoided the score, and it’s brilliant, but midway through the deciding set, they cut off the action and just said “and Samuel Testrikova won this thrilling match on a breathtaking tie break” on voiceover instead. And yes I know I made that name up, I don’t really follow the tennis, but you get my drift, right?
It’s still a GOOD album, granted, and when it all comes together, such as on ‘Submission‘ or the delightful pop punk of ‘Beef Hits‘, it’s like listening to the dorky cousin of Parquet Courts or The Wytches and I LOVE that. ‘My Condolences‘ too, is an urgent two minute wonder romp that leaves you begging for more, and ‘Content Jungle‘ whilst slightly less raucous, is arguably the finest moment on Club Nites.
While ‘Fugue‘ sounds interesting at the outset, something like Punishment Of Luxury sparring with Dead Kennedys, and ‘De Màs‘ begins like Spizzenergi but can’t decide whether it wants to be post-punk or something off Surfer Rosa, the songs start to lose their shape a little. It feels like they just weren’t sure how to end them, which is a real pity, as this would have made a splendid mini-album. Many of the tracks start off extremely promising and then just kind of collapse into nothing or make confusing detours with no real attempted destination.
Still, Club Nites is worth the admission fee for around 8 of the 14 tunes here. I shall certainly make a point of catching them live in the near future, as I suspect this is where they most likely would shine the brightest.
Club Nites is out now on Mint Records.