by Josh Adams
If you’ve been an “Indie” music fan in the past two years or so then Birmingham hasn’t been a terrible place to be. The city scene, headed by the likes of Peace, Swim Deep and Wide Eyed, has been characterised by the happy-go-lucky indie-dance songs that feel at home on BBC3 commercials and playing second fiddle at festival stages. Not bad takings considering the wider state of guitar music.
But their knack for crafting great pop tunes however, has gone against the indie grain of “landfill” acts that have crowded out the last decade. NME have hailed two (Peace & Swim Deep) as the “future of British music” and were the Birmingham ambassadors in NME’s Young Britannia 2013 issue: a collection of acts that – bar the brummies, Jake Bugg and a couple of Welsh artists – were nearly all from London and the South East. Nevertheless, the scene has shone a light on a rare regional swarm of talent that we haven’t seen the likes of since Madchester or Bristol’s Trip-hop phase.
One band however appears to be a lone antagonist to this West Midlands psychedelic indie-pop orthodoxy.
The band are DUMB, a direct symptom but not necessarily a willing participant of the B-Town scene. “We were never motivated by Birmingham or the B-town scene. We have been in bands and gigging around the city along time before B-Town existed. Its great that the city is getting the attention it deserves but we try to not take much notice of what’s going on around us, we don’t consider ourselves as a B-Town band. I think it’s important to remember that there is a wider world out there and we can’t wait to explore it!”
“We have all known each other forever and have grown up listening to the same music and made music throughout school and college. When we left, none of us were really into the idea of university” lead vocalist Dylan Williams explains, “we were just having fun making the music we loved to make. I definitely think we’re offering something different and we feel it’s important to not blend in.”
If the band’s geographical proximity to their fellow Brummies means that they’re all too often chucked in the same bucket — surprisingly their sound bears little resemblance to their colleagues. You might be tempted to use the term “uncomplicated” to describe their output if it didn’t throw up the image of Gorillas thrashing away at Gibson guitars and throwing crash symbols at innocent passers-by.
But there’s definitely a tougher streak here though, more rock n’ roll swagger. And after getting used to city’s usual conjurings of daydream guitar music you half expect Liam Gallagher to poke his head up and declare approval of this new brasher Brum sound.
“There are a lot of bands making great music in the city which makes it a very fun place to be a music fan and a lover of alcohol. We played in Bristol the other day, great city! I had a chat with a fella at a bar and he insisted Bristol was the real B-Town haha! People do seem to tag us with the B-Town thing as soon as they hear our Brummie accents. I think its important for people to know that the Birmingham music scene has more to offer.”
“We end up at other bands gigs from time to time. Definitely the best thing about being here is there are loads of people to grab a pint with. Curb are from Birmingham and are supporting us along with Kid Wave who are a great band from London.” A city that they’ve got no problems with: “We love London. Got loads of friends down there. Would be great to be based there one day.”
“We’re on tour at the moment and have just released our Double A Side single ‘Super Sonic Love Toy’/’Two Bottles’ which people seem to be in to. Playing live is what we love to do and think its the most important thing to get right so we are just focusing on the tour and hopefully picking up some festival slots this Summer”