Here's the thing — usually, when a journalist receives a CD, it'll be accompanied by a sheet of paper upon which is scrawled the band's biography, condensed into around 300 words. Tagged alongside will often be quotes from past reviews, from which the writer anticipates gaining information and influence for a review. Sometimes, though, we read these sheets and wonder: Who in the hell are they trying to kid? Bump's press kit bio is a perfect example.
One Grand Rapids-based magazine said the band is industrial-sounding, with shades of Bowie. After hearing this album more than 10 times, I can confirm that there isn't a single second of music that even remotely resembles Bowie, or even Tin Machine. And industrial? Please. Maybe they use some fuzz, but it's hardly KMFDM.
The accurate and unremarkable truth is that Bump, locals who recorded this, their debut album, at the Bunker studios in Royal Oak with producer-engineer Dan Currie, play excruciatingly average if well-executed indie pop. They could be forgiven for describing themselves as "approachable art rock" (again, in that press bio), which, let's face it, is like saying "shallow depth," if there was an ounce of passion in any of the nine songs. But there isn't. And believe me, I hunted for it.
I wanted to like Forward. I did. Comparisons with the Flaming Lips, Radiohead and, of course, Bowie intrigued. And the band's tight and talented. But that's all blah-blah-blah, because, without the fire, you get a sanitized exercise in studio jerk-offery.
Do I have enough words left to talk about that horrible band name? ... Shit. —Brett Callwood
Bump's CD release party is Saturday, May 16, at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700. With My Dear Disco and the Back Off.
Brett Callwood writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].