By Kieran Cannon (@kiercannon)
Glasgow is widely considered the musical epicentre of Scotland – and for good reason. Among the various heavyweight exports over the years, countless unsigned and emerging acts have amassed a reputation by playing across the eclectic mix of venues the city has to offer. Festivals such as the Tenement Trail offer these artists a valuable platform and, for others, an opportunity to discover new music. Speaking of which, one of this year’s featured acts The Dunts already boast a sizeable zealous following and are now vying to claim their own sonic territory amid the current wave of emerging indie/punk groups with their latest EP entitled Not Working Is Class, doubling up as a clever piece of wordplay and a concise summary of the contents within.
Booting open the doors and storming in all guns blazing, Tommy wastes absolutely no time in setting the tone for the rest of the EP. Channeling pure, unadulterated Ramones live energy into this highly charged opener, lead vocalist Rab Smith is accompanied by thrashing guitars and fervent drumming as he details a night gone south thanks to the (presumably) Buckfast-fuelled hedonistic exploits of the character in question who, it seems, has a bit of previous for disappearing inexplicably. As for the chances of an unlikely comeback? “As 10 o’clock approaches, the odds are looking slim“.
Lead single Coalition of Chaos, a renegade anthem for the country’s disaffected youth, explores the band’s own feelings of alienation and apathy as intimated by the EP’s title; here, Smith launches into a tirade about the grubby deals, political grandstanding and meaningless platitudes that characterise the current state of government in our country. In contrast to the blistering instrumentals of opener Tommy, here the guitar/bass sections ebb and flow: an effects-laden intro gives way to flickering verses and emphatic choruses.
Whether or not by design, a pervasive issue across all four tracks is the abrupt nature of the outros; perhaps even bordering on premature. Numbers like Coalition, a single with genuine potential, could benefit from a few extra seconds to further develop the melodies and arrive at a more satisfying conclusion. Although the band’s forte clearly lies in delivering incendiary short-fuse tunes around the sub-three-minute mark, a wider variety of outros would add greater depth to an otherwise solid set of tracks.
The Dunts have no qualms about laying bare their influences, particularly on Hampden Cabs where they channel indie and post-punk sensibilities via the likes of The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys in a return to the ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ philosophy of the opening track. Smith laments being landed in a taxi with an unbearable travel companion (akin to the Charmless Man discussed at great length by Damon Albarn), delivering an amusing and typically caustic Glaswegian take on this most patterless of individuals.
Wrapping up proceedings is Dimitri, a chaotic yet surprisingly self-aware exploration of mind-altering substances. The state of flux between euphoria and paranoia is captured with Smith/McGachy’s rapid-fire guitar and McGhee’s anxious drumming patterns as doubts begin to set in: “everything is gone, like water through my fingers“. Compared to the rough and ready production on their debut EP Fried (no longer available on Spotify but potentially set for future re-release), Not Working Is Class still bears the hallmarks of a band in the process of experimentation; finding their own sound. They are, however, comfortably en route to cementing their status as purveyors of potent council punk among the city’s most talented up-and-coming artists as well as beginning to break ground down south.