Dumberger - Close Enough (Cover Artwork)


Close Enough (2019)

Outloud! records

Let me get this out of the way: I know nothing about Dumberger. I promise I looked around, but to no avail. I have suspicions that Dumberger is a project put together by the terrific Grim Deeds, with both sharing a record label, a home state, and a sound. Heck, I even think I see similarities in the Bandcamp profile pictures. But that’s all circumstantial, and I need to focus on the music.

Simply, the music on this 5-song ep is fantastic. In less than ten minutes, Close Enough employs gloriously buzzing guitars and confident and original vocals in the service of some of my favorite pop punk songs of the year. At the core of all of this is a debt to the Ramones, but the lyrical phrasing on “Standing Next To You” gets me thinking of fantastic British pop punk like the Buzzcocks and the Undertones. It’s a great song. Same goes for the excitable self-help sprint “Helpless” and the oddly liberating “Hole In My Head”. In particular, the melody and phrasing during the chorus to “Hole In My Head” (“hole in my head, hole in my head, I need you like a hole in my head”) is about as catchy as you’re likely to find. Closer “Until You Go” keeps up the dash, coupling the pace with a singalong melody that seems delightfully ripped from a children’s nursery rhyme. On this one, the vocals are my favorite on the record, assured and controlled. And when Dumberger goes mid-tempo on “Close Enough”, the guitars chug and a catchy vocal melody sings lyrics that are somehow simultaneously fatalistic and optimistic (imploring someone to remember that at least “we have something at all” and that we may not be a perfect match, but “baby, we’re close enough”). More magnificence!

To my ears, there is pretty much nothing but gold here. Sure enough, it’s pretty standard-issue pop punk. But it’s done well. Worth checking out if singalong punk is your thing.