Friday, July 15, 2011

Dumbo Gets Mad: Elephants at the Door

     First off, I have a bunch of reviews lined up for the weekend, taking into consideration most of your wonderful suggestions! For now though, let's let that Friday feeling wash over us with Dumbo Gets Mad, and his debut album 'Elephants at the Door', a record available for free here, released sometime earlier this year. However that's about the sum total of what I know about him , apart from the fact that he's Italian and that his girlfriend contributes to a few of the tracks. On every profile and information point though, you'll find the idea behind the album. From the very start of recording Dumbo Gets Mad wanted this ten track lp to swim in the pool of psychedelia, which I have to say, it certainly does. Considering the name he's decided to adopt as well, and the Disney connotations it brings, there is almost a responsibility on him to be playful and fun, a responsibility he carries eagerly and carries excellently. A popular album from a relatively unknown artist is rare, but an outstandingly psychedelic and blissful one is even rarer. A joy for everyone.
     The sound floats around on lilos of 60's pop, but what really makes Dumbo Gets Mad even better is the fact that he takes the good out of those records and manages to merge it, and merge it well, with his own artistic vision, creating something entirely his own. I'm not saying there are influences here, 'cos there are, but unlike a record I reviewed recently, they're expertly fused with his own ideas, a gifted skill of any musician or band, and an attribute I greatly admire. This is trippy experimental psychedelia at it's very best.
     The opener, 'Limbo's Village' is a journey through a jungle, the animals croaking as you behold wonders never seen before, in a state of child-like curiosity and amazement. You find yourself falling into an Alice in Wonderland like hole, with a man wailing strangely before a Doctor Who-esque finish, leading into the best track on the album. 'Plumy Tale', with it's higher vocals grooving along the perfect bass line and subtle saxophone, lathered in a beautiful synthesised melody, is simply inspiring. Effects give this track a brilliantly playful feel as well, from the tinkling to the bubble popping, all of which highlight the harmonised chorus. This was actually the first single from the album, and for good reason. No other track here quite manages to rob 'Plumy Tale' of it's well-deserved crown.
     The remaining tracks are still marvelous though, don't get me wrong. 'Marmelade Kids' is a sight from outer space, watching the world spin and realising how small you are, but how special the human race is against a backdrop dark and everlasting. The crackling radio-like second half has a beat that slows to a relaxing hum at the very end. 'Sleeping Over', the next track, sounds decidedly alien, with it's frothing, bubbling vats and slowly flashing lights. Beeps and whizzes back the electrified high pitch voice of the extra terrestrials. Instead of sounding silly however, it works as a serious three and a half minutes. 'Harmony', with it's reverb covered vocals and upbeat rhythm skips along like a child, emulating that 60's feel so incredibly well. You wander through a vintage photograph, the houses blurred by the long-past summer sun, children laughing and playing in the street. The second half of the song, less so, but equally as magical. Great.
     Coming to a close, 'Eclectic Prawn', with both it's male and female vocals rocks along in unity against a chiptune beat, and is strangely commanding with it's powerful synthesiser sounds. Speaking of chiptune beats, 'Raymond Play' is a school play, also soothing in it's beat and calming in it's "la la la"s. There aren't many more notable tracks though, to be honest. In my opinion, the second half of the album, though tremendous, isn't quite up there with the first. The melodies at times can get lost in the synthesisers, which although detracts for some gets me personally wrapped up within the music. From a relatively unknown artist, this is a cold shower on a summer afternoon. It's refreshingly unique and sounds decidedly high on life. Again, this is 60's psychedelic pop at it's very best. It's free too, so there's really no reason to go and check out 'Elephants at the Door'!