Thursday, October 02, 2014

Tummler and Solomon: You've Worn Out Your Welcome (2014)

Three Bearded Dudes from Washington State

Doom just seems so simple. Why is it that there is such a wide gulf between the good ones and the bad ones, when, on the surface, they don’t seem all that different?

Tummler and Solomon don’t seem all that remarkable. Which is why it’s so remarkable that their level of quality on this debut album is so high. You’ve Worn Out Your Welcome is an example of the good kind of mellow stoner doom with drone leanings. Since explaining why it’s good or bad is kind of the purpose of a review, I’ll make an attempt at it. In the end it’s mostly an examination of what they don’t do wrong rather than what they’re doing right, but such is the nature of the beast in a genre with such well-established traditions.

It opens on the title track’s smooth and heavy riff and occasional, indistinct vocals. This is very much reminiscent of Electric Wizard at their most hazy. The riff is really killer, but I think it’s the subtle organ melody that really gives it that something extra. This sets a baseline for the rest of the 50-minute record—a runtime that is neither too long nor too short, in this case. The rest of the album varies from that template in a few ways. They go faster on “A Photograph of Lions” and add even more energy on closer “Handfed by Ghosts.” They exchange the laid-back attitude for something not-quite-aggressive (perhaps “assertive”) on “People Who Own Horses,” but alternately they get downright dreamy on “Climbing Up the Curtains” and the end of “A Righteous Offering.” The last two tracks make much more overt use of the organ.

On top of that, the songs are mostly in the 4-6 minute range, a real oddity for this type of music but something that serves it quite well. There are few things more disappointing than an otherwise good song that goes on twice as long as it should, but there is no danger of that here. The irony of the album's title is not lost on me. The range of tempos and moods on display reinforce the dynamism engendered by the relatively short songs.

But avoiding all those pitfalls is not the whole secret to success. The way they use organ here is not entirely unique, but it is clever enough. The riffs are heavy, with a suitably meaty production. And any time I totally fall in love with a groove like this, I eventually come to the conclusion that their drummer has a great sense of timing. I can’t quantify that in any way, just the same that I can’t quantify why I hate drum machines.

So, make yourself a club sandwich, turn it on, and enjoy.

The Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars

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