Guitar-driven, grunge-soaked and glorious; Dumb Days is the debut album from Australian four-piece Tired Lion, and it’s a confident, anthemic offering that was rightly tipped by Rolling Stone to be one of the ‘Top 50 Most Anticipated Albums’ of 2017. Produced by Violent Soho frontman Luke Boerdam, and engineered by the band’s long-term collaborator Dave Parkin, the record is a strung-out ode to the realisation that our adolescent ‘dumb days’ can’t last; but they can provide a backdrop for reflection and growth.
The raucous vocals of front-woman Sophie Hopes on ‘Japan’ break the record in. It’s overflowing with swirling feedback and manic guitar riffs – courtesy of lead guitarist Matt Tanner – and it’ll prompt you to book flights to the country it’s named after (or at the very least get “out the house more often”). It leads in to the equally loud ‘Where Were You?’ which fizzes with angst and apathy, before bleeding in to delightfully named ‘Cinderella Dracula’. The track laments the loneliness, regret, and lack of blue skies after a one night stand. It’s one of the many excellent examples of the band’s ability to seamlessly blend quiet verses with loud choruses.
‘Camp’ precedes the most recent single ‘Fresh’, and it’s hard not to fall head over heels in love with what is undoubtedly one of the strongest songs on the record. Sophie penned the track in the aftermath of a break-up and at the close of one of the band’s first international tours. “It’s sort of a goodbye tune” she explains, “saluting the old you or the relationship that may have been holding you back, in order to move forward”. It’s a sensitive, mature, enigmatic burst of grunge rock that will sink into your skin. You’ll be chanting the song’s refrain (“Disconnect my youth”) at the top of your lungs as you’re swept away on a sea of fuzzy guitar and knockout percussion from drummer Ethan Darnell
The eponymously named ‘Dumb Days’ is a nostalgic hazy ode to the innocence and freedom of youth and adolescence, and one to lean on when you need a pick-me-up on a drab, predictably adult day. ‘Hawaiifive0’ slows things down briefly, before ‘Behave’ revs things up again in typical Tired Lion style; instantly memorable lyrics, heavy bass (courtesy of Nick Vasey) and more mania via guitar and drums.
‘Cilantro’ hosts siren-like guitars and more or Sophie’s perfectly aggressive vocals, before the penultimate ‘I’ve Been Trying’ alters the mood again with its melancholy riffs and strung-out beats. Similar to ‘Fresh’, it blends the loud and the quiet to perfection, culminating in a knockout extended outro. The gloriously shoegazey ‘Med/Moy’ closes the record in what feels like a heartbeat, and proves that Dumb Days is a cohesive, catchy, and ultimately cool debut offering from this talented set of individuals.