Words: James Frostick
Melbourne-via-Bonny Hills trio Dumb Punts are celebrating the release of their new LP The Big One through Pissfart Records. Filled with strong riffs, mongrelised energy and world-weary lyrics, The Big One is a vital entrant into the revitalised and burgeoning Aus-rock scene.
It’s 2018 and the influence of Australia’s hard-rockin’ forbears is bearing fresh fruit in the form of a new wave of rugged noise. Where some sticks in the mud claim the revival of the pub-born sound indicates a musical and cultural regression, those with more of a clue need only point at the current crop of tenacious twang as a counterpoint. Denim and leather clad units are pairing strong-armed riffs with introspective commentary, and standing steadfast in the heart of this hungry pack is Melbourne malcontents Dumb Punts. The band continues its upward trajectory with a fiery and robust album The Big One, out today – Wednesday August 22 – through Pissfart Records.
The record is equal parts reckless abandon and unsettled paranoia, with tracks lamenting the rat-race, the weight of expectations and failing to live up to them. Despite the weighed-down sentiments sprinkled throughout, it’s hard not to be overtaken by The Big One’s propulsive energy – never letting you get bogged down and beaten around too badly. To mark the occasion, I fired off a few questions to the band to get a sense of how long these tracks have been kicking around, and what parts they imagine will click with long-time fans and new listeners.
Hey gang! I really loved the tracks on The Big One. To start, how long have these tunes been in the vault?
Cheers as! Glad ya liked it. It did take us a while – they sat in a vault for at least six months actually, not a literal one, but we did it like June last year I think and then didn’t do anything with it for way too long. It was hilarious.
Creatively, how would you say Dumb Punts have evolved up until this point?
Probably by not de-evolving, really. But seriously, I haven’t met a fan of music who just went, “Nuh, I’m done listening to anything new, I’m quitting now while I still can.” It’s not like sport, you don’t retire. We’re always listening to new and different stuff, so the band naturally evolves creatively each time we write a new song. It’s a good horse to back being a music-lover.
What would you say are the newest elements to your sound that are most discernable in this collection of songs?
Newest? I’m not sure – we’re all writing the songs so I think that keeps it pretty saucy. But maybe the most notable would be the keys in it? I think a few older songs have them as well… Anyways, Brent’s always played keys and the songs with them in it would just sound weird with nothing there, or like another guitar solo. All of us bringing songs to the table keeps things pretty fresh. For this record our view was if it belongs there, it’s gonna stay. I love the synth in all the songs, and I don’t mean on just our record – like all the songs. Who doesn’t love a synth solo?
In terms of writing and the recording process behind The Big One, was there anything about the development that was markedly different from your previous efforts?
Yeah, it took fuckin’ forever! But seriously, it was recorded over a year ago now and it just kinda sat around for a bit cause we were touring and stuff and then we were like, “Should we go record some more stuff or redo some shit?” Then we procrastinated a bit, went on another tour, and then, boom! It’s Christmas!? Boy, were we surprised. It’s relieving though, it’s finally out and we can move onto the next one.
It seems The Big One touches on a few different aspects of modern living and the paranoia, frustration and tumultuous thoughts that clutter our brains. What would you say are some of the crucial themes that you touch on across the record?
I think you probably got some of them there. I don’t think that’s anything new for a lot of people. I think when you have that drive and ambition to create and there’s a conflict with having to do shit you don’t want to do to, it’s hard to write a song about rainbows and skittles. It wouldn’t be real. We’re all crazy, we’re all gonna die, and we’re not as nice as we think we are, or wait, is that the opposite? I don’t know. It’s cathartic though.
I dig how Dumb Punts weave lyrics with some introspective substance and a broader outlook into a full-powered rock and roll slog. What’s the process behind taking a concept, making it direct, digestible and fun but also poignant in it’s own way?
You can’t really pin it down cause the three of us all write differently, and separately for the most part these days – so it’s not a set process or idea as far as concepts go. Some are easy and come together simply and then, others are a bit more thought out or ‘written’. Poignant isn’t a word I would use to describe us though – maybe ‘Poig-Nahhhhhnt’.
What about this record do you hope resonates the most with listeners?
That whoever does listen to it finds a song or songs they like. I’m already over most of the songs, I burnt like 10 or 12 different mixes so I could hoon about in the car trying to figure out the track-listing, and what songs work or don’t work together. It was heavy. So, maybe that. Yeah, I hope what resonates most is the order of the songs, cause just thinking about that makes me anxious.
What are you most proud of about this album?
That we can say we made one, that it’s out, that people like it –there’s a lot to be proud about. But we really like touring, and playing music the most so we’ll just keep doing that I think and release another record soon. You want to be smart punt, not a smarmy punt.
Have a listen to The Big One now: