Review – “dumb summer” – Prom

dumb summerreviewed by Michael Thomas

It’s always a delight when a band is exactly as advertised—though perhaps “delight” might not be the right word to describe Prom, a Toronto band whose description includes the phrase “bummer jams.” Prom make no attempt at being something they’re not, which is why this EP comes across as so genuine and, hey, affectingly sad.

We previously described this band as the embodiment of the sound of pessimism, and on dumb summer, Prom’s latest EP, that sadness has clearly not gone anywhere. If anything, it’s gotten even more pronounced. Prom would likely find a kindred spirit in Edmonton’s Jom Comyn, as both feature music with deep vocals and beautiful accompaniments, with Prom skewing a bit more in the indie-pop direction.

The sounds of dumb summer are almost a musical representation of how Toronto collectively felt during the unusually cool summer. There’s a sense of haze, of disorientation, of wanting to just go to sleep, wake up and pretend that’s it’s all a dream—only for the truth to hit you in the face again.

With James Rodgers added to what was previously just Daniel Wilson and Sufian Malik, the arrangements now feel bigger, most evident in the beautiful “lcbo.” with more upbeat synths and a sense of urgency to the guitars. Lyrics are harder to distinguish this time around, with the delivery resembling a mutter, but it’s all part of the atmosphere.

The opener and closer, “television” and “crybaby” respectively, encourage maximum sadness levels; the narrator of the former song seems to only want to sit and waste away in front of a TV screen, judging by the repeated line “I need more television…”

But don’t just listen to Prom to get sad, also admire the beautiful instrumental work here. The dreamy “park moods” has a great bass solo in between swirling guitars and synths, and “crybaby” will blow you away with guitar.

Long live sad pop.

Top Track: “lcbo”

Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)

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