Album Review: Bummerville – Bottom Feeder

If your self-promise of a clean-eating Veganuary just isn’t working out for you, then turn your 2018 around with Bummerville’s debut album. Released by Graveface Records, the LP is a nod to garage rock.

Composed and recorded in an improvised style, it allows musicianship – the central theme of the post-rock genre – to come to the fore. Along with his bassist brother Derek, Daniel Brady Lynch and fellow collective members Joshua Sterno (guitar) and Jonathan Graham (drums) have achieved an original style of music making fresh enough to wow 2018 listeners.

With each track revealing it spontaneity with pride – capturing sounds verbatim – listeners are invited to interpret the music is a myriad of ways; they can either enjoy it as it is, or examine its rebellion against a tightly conformist industry.

This is particularly significant for millennial and post-millennial listeners, the two demographics most accustomed to being able to preempt the formula of a song without really listening to it – a habit owed to the default plastic pop chord progressions and salutes to social homogeneity that, tragically, saturate the contemporary music charts.

Such over and misuse of similar progressions results in not only stylistic inertia, but also listeners’ apathy: the majority of those reached by chart music are conditioned to accept its predigested sound and form as it comes, passively supporting a pernicious regime.  

Team Bummerville, conversely, uses real instruments and live recorded adds to its music. decisions that enable the band to remain daring, new and organic. Live instrumentation will prove useful when it comes to live performances; the group is clearly secure enough in its ability  to take musical expression in whichever direction seems the most appealing. Inducing a care free festival vibe, the music propels listeners’ minds from the chilling mid January blues to the sunnier prospects of summer.

Opening track “I Can Feel It There” provides the perfect exposition: setting the tone for its successors in a delightful rhythm of funky garage rock, it welcomes listeners to the world of Bummerville in a short, sharp burst of fun.

“C U Gone”, notably, has a funkier feel to it, an effect that contrasts nicely with ‘Everyone’s Mutants’, an aggressive track revealing the breadth of Bummerville’s journey into the often convoluted realm of rock.

Despite the band’s relaxed approach to writing material, the lack of lyrics –  disregarding the inaudible ones in a few of the tracks – makes it difficult to connect solely with the music itself. This threatens to isolate non-fans of rock music, or just those that typically find an entire album of guitars and drums nauseating.  

That’s not to say that the sequence is not enjoyable and well-crafted music rooted in musicianship and an undeniable love for playing; it just suggests that the  band might want to have a different idea up its sleeve for album number two, perhaps one involving more recording of words.

Even if lyrics were as improvised as the music, it would have surely imbued the album with more of Bummerville’s promising talent.

Sam Meleady

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