Some people like to carve a personality out of a distaste for nostalgia. Those perpetually forward-moving people who always know where they’re going next. They’re probably immune to the charms of a band like Brisbane’s Dumb Things. Not me baby. I’m the make myself sick scrolling through Instagram back to 2014 kind. I’m a, constantly second guessing decisions I made years ago, wondering if I should move back to a home that isn’t there anymore, little bitch. And Time Again hooked me good.
Dumb Things wear their Twerps Dick Diver Ocean Party influences on their sleeves, which is good cuz they sound like those bands and plenty others, but I’ll probably always prefer a catchy melody and a sweet vocal over some brand new noise. And they put the most Go-Betweensy sounding song first up just to ward off anything who doesn’t like bands that sound like other bands.
On the surface this album is jangly and sweet, but it’s held together with a seam of regret. Time Again, is, sure enough, concerned with the passage of time. Watching it go by why you stay in the same place. On first track ‘Nights’ they’re briefly considering burning it all down, but the sentiment doesn’t last long. ‘Carpark Daydream,’ is about watching all your friends live their dreams while you’re going nowhere. In ‘Suburbs’, they’re trying to convince us that if they’re moving back to their parents’ house, it’s just for the summer. Even speeding down the highway on ‘Crash Barriers’, the scenery doesn’t change. Roadkill and BPs pass by on an unending loop. It’s a decidedly un-beautiful setting for the only real love song on the album, lyrics morbidly romantic for a song built out of twinkly guitar and breathy vocals; ‘tacky shrines / for beautiful lives / to sit beside you / oh what a way to die’.
‘Waiting Out’ is one of the more simple songs on the records, but the mumbled vocals and soothing refrain of ‘it’s alright, I don’t mind / I’m just, waiting out my time,’ turning apathy into a kind of virtue, make it one you want to come back to. ‘Time Again’, the final track, leaves us on a deceptively melancholic note, ‘if I could have my time again/ I’d do it right’. But it’s a blissful kind of melancholy. There’s no angst in lines like, ‘another book I didn’t read / another town I didn’t quite get to leave’. Just the inevitability of failure that comes from not trying.
It’s this sentiment that, for me, makes this feel most feel a Queensland album. It’s not a conscious choice to stay, you didn’t get to leave, couldn’t find the time. But when you stop to think about it, hey, it’s not so bad. That’s the conflict at the heart of this record, and of a lot of people who end up staying in a town they thought they’d eventually leave. Feelings of regret and acceptance play equal part in this lovely bittersweet album.
Time Again is available digitally on Brisbane label Coolin’ By Sound here. The vinyl will be out on November 22, for all the Daddies Warbucks out there.