Release Date: Oct 14, 2016
Record label: 4AD
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Sometimes true originality takes a while to click. On a first listen, the debut effort from D.D Dumbo, aka Oliver Hugh Perry from Castlemaine, Australia, is an enigma that’s more confounding than it is intriguing. Opening with a spikey, undulating number about a walrus bleeding to death, Perry proceeds to sing about UFOs, Francisco Franco, devil worship and some additional dying sea creatures, all while cycling through an incongruous mixture of cultural styles that seems a little suspect in its freewheeling exoticism.
From the Australian Goldfields region of Victoria comes the vibrant, ambitious pop music of D.D Dumbo. Under this unusual moniker, multi-instrumentalist Oliver Hugh Perry made waves in 2013 with the release of Tropical Oceans, a beguiling and progressive EP that quickly landed him support slots alongside other pop auteurs like St. Vincent, Tune-Yards, and Tame Impala.
It’s taken Australia’s D. D Dumbo – real name Oliver Hugh Perry – two long years to follow on from the tribal stomp of 2014’s soaring, Yeasayer-esque banger ‘Tropical Oceans’, but debut LP ‘Utopia Defeated’ suggests an artist doing the opposite of backing down. The frame of artistic reference within which Perry nestles is more American than Aussie, but D.
It was back in May that I first encountered Australia’s D.D Dumbo (AKA Oliver Hugh Perry) by way of lead single ‘Satan’. What I heard was immediate, intricate and emotionally affecting experimental pop: an increasingly unsettling vocal performance that eventually became almost demonic, scattered over a gritty rhythmic gallop decorated with the wealth of instrumentation you’d expect from mid-career Sufjan Stevens. Perry’s abstract lyrics were perfectly matched by his unrelenting attention to musical detail.
D.D Dumbo 'Utopia Defeated' (4AD)It’s easy to think that samples and loops are the realm of the electronic music artist, but D.D Dumbo – with the aid of a guitar, basic percussion and FX pedals – has created something extraordinary with ‘Utopia Defeated’. Dumbo, aka Oliver Perry, is from a small town in Australia’s remote Victoria bush, but the music he makes sounds like it hugs the world. The influence of earthy sub-Saharan blues is readily apparent on the choppy fretwork of ‘Walrus’, and the raw loops he creates by on-the-fly sampling have universal appeal.