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Standing out

Sweetmilk Underground
Sweetmilk Underground
By Dumbluck

Fatface Entertainment: 2006

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This review first appeared in Turbula in October 2006.

Mining territory similar to that worked by Sublime, Orange County's Dumbluck hews closer to the punk/alt side of things than to the Caribbean grooves that inform Sublime's music. Dumbluck is more of an alt rock band with a few touches of reggae and ska, rather than a full-on fusion of the two styles that Sublime represents. (Those who watched the X Games on TV undoubtedly heard the band's cover of "I Just Want to Celebrate.")

Still, whatever the style, you gotta have songs – and on its debut CD Dumbluck more than holds its own. From the melodic pop rock of the opening track, "Roll Away," through the gorgeous refrain on "Real Again" to the slowed-down but decadent "Everything," the three members of Dumbluck show they can turn a tune.

Lead singer/guitarist Jim Perkins has a unique style on both; bassist Johnny Baldaray and drummer Phil Valdovinos create an always swirling mesh of rhythms behind Perkins, incorporating not only ska and reggae, but funk, jazz, blues and a half-dozen rock beats. The result is an incredibly full sound for a trio, and one that is individual enough to stand out.