Dumbstruck – Its Not You its Me

Dumbstruck
Its Not You its Me

The “SoCal” sound has become almost like a distinct genre, like ska or celtic music. The clean, rhythmic precision, the melodramatic lyrics, and the emotive harmonies are instantly recognizable as having come from the region (usually Orange or Los Angeles counties). I don’t know if there are some kind of strict community standards enforced for pop-punk in the lower portion of Southern California, but the music does seem extremely codified. To call Dumbstruck derivative would be missing the point. What compels bands from LA to avoid breaking the Victory/Lookout Records mold is their dedication to image, style, and accessibility. They want as wide and happy an audience as possible while still communicating that certain something only rock music rewards.

“Its Not You Its Me” [sic] speaks to that level of dedication that this quintet must have had to reach this level of stylistic perfection within a period of time little longer than a year. The song starts off with that energetic swing full of time changes leading into vocals singing against just guitars before the band breaks in. Like Chuck Berry’s signature intros that became a staple of many 50s rockers, you have heard this a few hundred times before. The formula goes on from verse to chorus and back, with a few more breaks and time changes. Dumbstruck are not without substance, though, because they are so comfortable with this formula they are able to add flourishes that reveal something of their individual musical talents – and more importantly the changes that they play coincide with the emotions being expressed in the lyrics. The way that the outro slows down markedly as the last lyrics are repeated “I think we’re better off as friends” is sure to get all the girls.

Dumbstruck are a confident and fun band not without a sense of humor (they describe their music as “…softcore” and feature several games about the band on their website). Expect to hear their name again as they have the SoCal sound down pat and have all the motivation and haircuts necessary to make it in this business.