Punk isn’t for everyone. I once went to a punk show and lasted about fifteen seconds in the third row, leaving the venue after a rough twenty minutes. So why am I reviewing a punk album when obviously this is not my cup of tea? To put it simply, I heard good things about Horrible Things. In the beginning of April the C-U punks released their latest full-length Dumb Days. Since then, the album's been up on Bandcamp, allowing free streaming and a name your price purchase.
What becomes obvious on this album is that Horrible Things really love sampling. Both of their prior releases Landbridge Split (2010) and Demo 4 (2011) began with samples, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the band chose another one as an introduction for the album. Dumb Days begins with a thirty second sampling of “I Won’t Grow Up,” a tune which will sound familiar to all who have seen Peter Pan. Growing up seems to be a reoccurring theme throughout the record, but maybe I’m just looking too hard for it. The opening track is about a guy stealing someone’s girlfriend, “you mother fucker, you stole her away from me.” Obviously, being mad at the other dude isn’t very mature. The song was rightfully called “La Parassé,” which translates into “laziness.” Being lazy doesn’t fall under the list of qualities that make an adult, although obviously some people never got that memo.
Speaking of lists, one of the tracks off of Dumb Days is entitled “To-Do List,” further playing with this idea of growing up. The lyrics are composed of one long sentence, “So I'll watch my to-do lists growing longer / and I can bet on these obligations growing stronger / and I'll wait for all these rules to take a hold of me / but I can’t let them strip me of who I am.” Here, the guys seem okay with growing up, but of course they proclaim that adulthood won’t change them. Well said, boys.
What most appeals to me is the subtle humor of the album. I just can’t take a song entitled “A Friend Named Food” seriously, but since the title is kind of funny, I’m totally okay with it. I imagine songs like “(I’m) Passive Aggressive” to be favorites among fans, as it definitely was stuck in my head for hours after hearing it. The song features straightforward and easy to remember lyrics, “I’m kind of obsessive, so it’s all I think about.” Tell it how it is. Just like this song, the whole album is somewhat minimal, in the best sense of the word.
The reoccurring mention of growing up on Dumb Days suggests that the guys might be in denial about seriously entering adulthood and taking on its many responsibilities. However, it wouldn’t be fair to call this album childish or lazy. Horrible Things succeeded in making a good punk album from beginning to end, with fast and short songs and music that begs for a mosh pit. With that said, it would be interesting to see what the band does next. We can only look forward to the changes that their music is going to go through once they stop singing about growing up. Surely, the music will grow up with them. Oh, and this might be pushing it, but maybe Horrible Things’ next release won’t begin with a sample. Yeah, that’d be a nice surprise.