REVIEWS | FEATURES | DEPARTMENTS | BOOMBOX | PODCAST | MISC
SEARCH:
splendid > reviews > 4/29/2003
Dump
Dump
A Grown-Ass Man
Shrimper


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Daily Affirmation"

Buy me now
Five years in the making, Yo La Tengo bassman James McNew's latest release as Dump is proof that his contribution to the Hoboken, New Jersey-based band (or critic's wet dream) is an enormous one. Transcending McNew's humble four-track recording origins, Grown-Ass Man is an intelligent brew of bare-bones Casio drumbeats, static-driven guitar lines and widescreen arrangements (in theory, at the very least, if only occasionally in practice).

Grown-Ass Man zig-zags all across the map, willfully scattershot and free from the studied cool that has characterized the last few Yo La Tengo releases. McNew proves there's nothing wrong with either approach, provided the player has skill -- and Dump is chock full of skillful genre exercises, as illustrated over the course of a baker's dozen tracks. "Basic Cable" rocks somewhere in the vicinity of YLT's "Cherry Chapstick", while "Peggy's Blues" shows off McNew's softer side -- it's a thoughtful ballad accompanied by a gorgeously stylized harmony during the plaintive chorus. "I'm On Your Side" goes a step further and synthesizes a Shirelles/Shangri-Las feel with mournful strings and McNew's fragile falsetto. "Daily Affirmation" is an extension of YLT's deft ability to craft a minimalist melodic idea into an eight epic dirge; equal parts "Don't Fear the Reaper" and Phil Collins's "In the Air Tonight", it's one of the few risks McNew takes on the album and the rewards are bountiful. "Silver Lining" is pure sweetness and light and serves as Dump's strongest statement that a melody with a strong hook is king in the land of spaced-out rockers and smitten four-track confessionals.

Never one to shy away from covering a tune (see Dump's homemade tribute to Prince, That Skinny Motherfucker With the High Voice (2001)), McNew steps up with three witty takes on a Thin Lizzy rocker ("Cowboy Song"), an R&B ballad and the Marvin Gaye-Mary Wells duet, "Once Upon a Time" (featuring Sue Garner). In Dump's hands, Gerald LeVert's 1999 rhythm and blues hit "Mr. Too Damn Cool" is not fodder for some arty indie-makeover, but rather the very same tear-jerking, slow-burning groove it originally was. The same can be said for the Gaye-Wells track -- imitation is the order of the day, not interpretation. In the end, all three tracks are winners, and further underscore Dump's unstated goal of setting its sights on any musical style with breath in its lungs.

I'm not sure if the album title and artwork are meant to suggest a sort of middle-aged self-loathing or a declaration of matured confidence. Rest assured, however, that Dump demonstrates that everything comes up roses, as long as you play what you like to listen to. If the shape-shifting songs and styles on Grown-Ass Man are any indication of McNew's listening habits, the five-year wait for the next album should be well worth it.



REVIEWS:

12/31/2005:
Ladytron

Brian Cherney

Tomas Korber

UHF

The Rude Staircase

Dian Diaz

12/30/2005:
Helloween

PTI

The Crimes of Ambition

Karl Blau

Rosetta

Gary Noland

12/29/2005:
Tommy and The Terrors

Blacklisted

Bound Stems

Gary Noland

Carlo Actis Dato and Baldo Martinez

Quatuor Bozzoni

12/28/2005:
The Positions

Comet Gain

Breadfoot featuring Anna Phoebe

Secret Mommy

The Advantage

For a Decade of Sin: 11 Years of Bloodshot Records

12/27/2005:
The Slow Poisoner

Alan Sondheim & Ritual All 770

Davenport

Beaumont

Five Corners Jazz Quintet

Cameron McGill

Drunk With Joy

12/26/2005:
10 Ft. Ganja Plant

The Hospitals

Ross Beach

Big Star

The Goslings

Lair of the Minotaur

Koji Asano



Splendid looks great in Firefox. See for yourself.
Get Firefox!


FEATURES:
Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste probably didn't even know that he'd be the subject of Jennifer Kelly's final Splendid interview... but he is!



DEPARTMENTS:
That Damn List Thing
& - The World Beyond Your Stereo
Bookshelf
Pointless Questions
File Under
Pointless Questions
& - The World Beyond Your Stereo


ARCHIVE:
Read reviews from the last 30, 60, 90 or 120 days, or search our review archive.

It's back! Splendid's daily e-mail update will keep you up to date on our latest reviews and articles. Subscribe now!
Your e-mail address:    
REVIEWS | FEATURES | DEPARTMENTS | BOOMBOX | PODCAST | MISC
SEARCH:
All content ©1996 - 2011 Splendid WebMedia. Content may not be reproduced without the publisher's permission.