The Dumes couldn’t have begun recording their new EP, Everything Is Horrible, at a more appropriate time.
The Los Angeles quintet’s first day in the legendary Sunset Sound Studios coincided with the first day their city went on lockdown back in March 2020. “We didn’t know if the world was ending or if we had just stepped into a time machine that transported us back to the ’70s,” vocalist Elodie Tomlinson said in a statement accompanying the release of Everything Is Horrible. Premiering exclusively at Popdust today and available to stream everywhere tomorrow (April 23), the EP is a timely tribute to real-life gloom.
Aptly named and thematically relevant, Everything Is Horrible marries the sultry sheen of ’80s new wave with prime 2000s indie rock hooks. At her best, Tomlinson evokes the commanding power of Blondie’s Debbie Harry or Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon. Her vocals are hearty and bold, and with her bandmates beside her — drummer Chris Dunn, bassist Liam McCormack, guitarist Peter Recine, and guitarist/keyboardist Kyle Biane — the Dumes sound unstoppable.
The EP was produced by Grammy winner Joe Chiccarelli, whose resume spans from Oingo Boingo to the Strokes’ Angles. He captures the Dumes’ live essence seamlessly, making minimal edits as the band wrapped recording just hours before LA’s initial lockdown was issued. The result feels intoxicatingly frantic and riveting, though the Dumes keep their composure through the chaos — like trying to get through a packed club gig after hours before the cops bust the show.
Much of Tomlinson’s lyrics across Everything Is Horrible center around love on the brink of destruction. “Don’t mix me with your feelings / Like your liquor and high,” she hollers on the upbeat “Liquor & High,” as if likening herself to an out-of-body experience.
With a self-admitted habit of slipping into “toxic” relationships, however, “Drexel” sees Tomlinson come to terms with her resistance to love. “I had never felt anything like pure love with no strings, so naturally I questioned it, then I questioned why I questioned it,” she adds. Recalling the pain of previous relationships — “Oh I’m tasting blood, man this must be loving,” she sings — “Drexel” is a glimmer of hope in a landscape otherwise dimmed by the rubble.