Dope Body: Nupping
Published: May 25, 2011
In which caveman—emphasis on “man”—vocals mingle with precise, future-forward yet heavy guitar leads that at points feel like math-rock. That’s the weird duality of Dope Body, a punk-for-lack-of-a-better-term band that feels at once garage-y retro and quite the opposite of retro, a band that could just as well chuck the past altogether (provided a reverb pedal can come along)—call it sci-fi punk-rock primitivism. And also call it quite good, at least as represented on the trio’s first somewhat above-ground full-length release.
It’s possible that some of Zach Utz’s great talent at bending the possibilities of a guitar every which way could get a mite downplayed in a Dope Body live show, where flailing, contorting frontman Andrew Laumann becomes the focus. On record, if anything, that dynamic is flipped and Utz nearly becomes the star, taking his guitar from bright Ponytail-y riffs to shredding through this or that electronic effect (presumably) to the odd sounds in between. And making all of that wicked natural, as on “City Limits,” where he whips between guitar and anti-guitar guitar in a satisfying frenzy.
“Bangers and Yos” is particularly cool: Guitars wah in a sharply punctuated churn and then slip into mathy acrobatics, yielding a weird quasi-dance song in the process. The by-now familiar “Enemy Outta Me” returns to lead off Nupping—it premiered in summer of 2010—and it’s still likely Dope Body’s strongest song, getting this dichotomy between catharsis and control best and most naturally. Even the drums get a chance to take over the spotlight; David Jacober is a force of nature and gets “Mr. Black” to run the show, building the song up by his lonesome for nearly the first minute. Straight-up virtuosity has been somewhat out of style for a while now in punk-rock, garage, and lo-fi, in favor of artful or at least fashionable slop. This is not that and, hopefully, the music world takes notice.
Dope Body plays a release show for Nupping May 27 at Floristree. For more information visit dopebody.tumblr.com.
> Email Michael Byrne