Dumb & In Luv LP
(Pirates Press Records)
After having released two EPs in the last sixteen months, it’s unlikely that fans expected a full-length album to be forthcoming from Suzi Moon – but the even greater surprise is just how incredibly good Dumb & In Luv is. Where the EPs hinted at some solid gutter-rock power, Dumb & In Luv goes a couple of steps further and reveals Moon’s potential beautifully. Saying that the album draws from pages previously written by acts like Joan Jett and Bif Naked only scratches the surface of what listeners will hear here; in ten cuts spread across two sides, Dumb & In Luv illustrates that Suzi Moon is a much better writer and performer than anyone who only knew her from her last two releases could have guessed.
As soon as its title track opens Dumb & In Luv, listeners will be absolutely stunned by how far Suzi Moon has come in such a short time. There, huge-sounding drums and a hotrod-identified guitar riff will set hearts racing before Moon unloads a story of love gone wrong (see “Act one/ We met and had some fun”) and lines up an angry and self-deprecating dialogue which blazes straight into the song’s chorus. The combination of the tones employed is incendiary but, all along the way, the singer doesn’t exactly blame the one who did her wrong any more or less than she blames herself for falling under love’s wheels once again. By the time the song reaches “Act four,” listeners will find that whatever might have happened and how hearts got broken matters less than the guitars and tone which propel the song do. After two minutes, no lessons will have been learned – but listeners’ interest and hunger for more will both have been piqued.
Listeners certainly don’t have to wait long for another serving of similarly-flavored heat, after “Dumb & In Luv” lets out, but “Family Memories” also shifts gears into some sweet punkabilly while “California” lays down eight-cylinder-powered rhythms which would be easy to drive along to all summer long and then “Honey” stretches its length with a bridge that producer Davey Warsop must have believed in [read: it’s long and pointless, but the rest of the song is really good –ed] before “Any Other Way” closes the side with Suzi Moon betraying some bruised feelings and the fact that she’s still hoping for a kiss goodnight.
While the lyric sheet in “Honey” doesn’t leave listeners confident in the B-side of Dumb & In Luv‘s potential as it opens (see lines like, “If you want my honey, you gotta learn to love me/ If you want my sugar, gotta treat me right”), “Any Other Way” nails a Bif Naked kind of power punk vibe which is absolutely impossible to deny and tees up “99 Miles To Pasadena” perfectly. There, the tone of Moon’s voice (exemplified by her delivery of couplets like “Took a little walk to clear my mind/ I never thought I’d make it back alive”) compliments the guitar, bass and drums which sound like they could have come hot off of Warped Tour circa 2002 and amounts to the perfect kind of spiky sweetness that punks will eat up and beg for more when it’s gone. That song (and the desire for still more that it leaves) dovetails neatly into “Believe In Luv” (where listeners are gifted the image of love gone wrong with the words, “I loved a boy with a wink in his eye/ He told me he was gonna leave his wife”) before finally crashing to a close with the acoustic “love and hope lost” plaint of “Freedom”. Now, after the glorious blaze that Dumb & In Luv proved to be throughout both sides of its running, listeners may feel as though they’ve been shorted as the energy of “Freedom” drops off dramatically; the acoustic guitar and much milder vocal tone are so light that they leave the song feeling completely out of place. The only way that listeners may feel “Freedom” is permissible in this context is to assume that the song is meant to help listeners taper down their energy levels rather than just dropping them cold. Whether or not that actually works is up for debate though.
Other than possibly about how it ends, listeners will find that they’re left with precisely no complaints about Dumb & In Luv. Where other bands/artists may stumble as they try to balance “big power” and “refined lyrics,” Suzi Moon achieves both and pushes above and beyond the quality of her previous releases. Dumb & In Luv is great, for the most part, and while it still leaves a little room for improvement, the album will leave listeners well and truly satisfied. [Bill Adams]
Dumb & In Luv will be released on September 9, 2022 on Pirates Press Records. Pre-order it here, directly from Pirates Press.