Sweet Bump It // Sweet Bump It
Recommended Track: Animal
“Not my cup of tea, but it’s cool.”
- Iggy Pop’s .GIF
Echo Park soulful septet Sweet Bump It’s S/T release orbits in opposite periodicity to the Stooges. Instead, 7 tracks of play-it-safe rock guarantee massive audience appeal in routine social spheres like a high school talent show, a wealthy family member’s wedding, a food and culture gathering where children are present… anywhere that smearing peanut butter on your chest would get you expelled, ousted or arrested.
Reaching for dangerous influences–Janis, Jimi and the like–these self-released tracks side more with rock’s 90s commercial revivalists, who’ve passed their prime. Energy-wise, we’re nearer to Lenny Kravitz, two albums after Are You Gonna Go My Way, than anything in the Led Zeppelin catalogue. We’re in Kate Pearson solo release territory, post B-52’s, produced to stave off financial ruin, and over-produced to sound marketable to Amy Winehouse fans.
SBI is a great band, though, and the musicianship and arrangements are flawless. But what’s fundamentally missing is memorable songs. Yes, my dad and I could listen to them—that’s no easy feat—-but these songs exist antithetically to the very influence they conjure. Jimi and Janis were tapping their unbridled creativity to melt minds. SBI is fostering popularity today by toying with our secret, subconscious desire to go back to the first Lollapalooza.
Perhaps their harnessing of superficial appeal is their genius. If you dismiss them for being so damn likable, you miss their absurdly funny lyrics. The opening track “Dauphine” is a sultry, open-high-hat downbeat chorus’ed, sexy bassline’d, shaker-friendly, pentatonic guitar-solo’ed, “everyone get quiet while we do the fourth chorus” affair…the kind of track Lo-Pie is allergic to…but closer up, the song lyrically addresses the dog Dauphine, who “cleans her paws.” Yes, this “dog” could be an allegory for a slobbering person who does “dogly” sexual things. Normally, writers would metaphorically call a man’s hands “paws.” Perhaps SBI is even subversive in giving a woman “paws.” Though, it’s doubtful that vocalist Paco de Leon is speaking Robert Plant’s language of double entendres. The music video stars an actual dog with a dog collar that reads “Dauphine.” That means SBI is trolling the real life Dauphine (touche, whoever this “dog” Dauphine is), or SBI’s trolling us with a seemingly normal song about dogs.
Is guitarist/songwriter Paco De Leon an old soul? Who knows. She’s seemingly playful on the record, and vivaciously charismatic on-stage. SBI is obviously headed for the Late Night circuit—band members, take note: don’t be assholes! If everything goes swimmingly, four years from now, Middle Americam viewers will be bobbing along to Sweet Bump It before their next shot of cold hard advertising. Hopefully they’re able to connect with Paul Shaffer first. Where these tracks reproduced, his keys and a “Late Night Band” horn section would complement SBI’s session-quality musicianship.