The new EP is a mix, but not of the genres the band's bio promises.
[Updated] There are two key passages in the bio for New Orleans indie rock band The Bummers. One reads, “The Bummers have never been one for genre conventions. Instead the four piece group crafts their style out of unlikely pairings: the jagged riffs of vintage metal with the raw attitude of trap; the breezy melodies of pop paired with their own brand of nihilistic humor; North-eastern punk meets New Orleans Frenchmen street vibes.”
Those lines promises something far edgier than the new Dairy Beach EP delivers, but to be fair, the recorded output of bands that claim such broad stylistic inspirations rarely deliver the genre clash that they promise. The sentence is best read as a statement of values, some of which materialize in the music and some of which show up more ephemerally. Vintage metal is in short supply, but The Bummers don’t scrimp on the guitars. Attitude? Maybe. Pop melodies define the songs, but not so much that the tracks lack edge. The serrated chords in “First Wok” keep the song from going down too easily, and the signature guitar line in “Kill Yourself” similarly resolves unpredictably.
The more relevant line in the bio is “In April of 2017 the band performed at Tulane University’s annual Crawfest, after winning by popular vote.” That’s the triangulation that you hear on Dairy Beach—not a collection of disparate genres but of popular sounds. Nothing The Bummers do sounds pre-meditated or manipulative; instead, they sound like a product of the community they spring from. That makes the EP a little familiar as it taps into the dominant guitar-driven punk/pop aesthetic, but it’s also a lot listener-friendly.
Being music by and for the college-aged listener, The Bummers’ lyrics reflect Millennial anxieties. “NHL 2002” addresses the complications that accompany the accumulation of stuff over time, and the title track sweats the emptiness the comes with tentative, impersonal connections. None of the songs sound as weighty as those themes might suggest though, because the pop sense that shapes the melodies also affects the tone. Everything sounds musically fun first, then meaningful after that.
Dairy Beach is the product of a band refining its vision. If The Bummers’ 2018 album A Very Exciting Life is any indication, the band would have sounded at home on a Warped Tour, but Dairy Beach doesn’t hit as hard. They now focus on melody and harmony and the trade pays off. There are disparate elements that come together like a name-generating meme, but the songs are defined by something simple and classic.
The Bummers are on tour this summer and return to New Orleans to play Gasa Gasa with Brianna Musco and Kuwaisiana on July 29.
Updated July 4 at 9:56 a.m.
The photo has been changed to a newer one that reflects the band's current lineup.