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Dumb Luck

8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 24, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An album five years in the making, and Jimmy Tamborello's first for Sub Pop. Thick with his signature sampler finessing, warm electronic washes, and genius beat placement, "Dumb Luck" is an album lyrically as much about human distance as connection. Includes vocal contributions from Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley), Edward Droste (Grizzly Bear), Valerie Trebeljahr and Markus Acher (Lali Puna), Mia Doi Todd, Grant Olsen and Sonya Westcott (Arthur & Yu), Andrew Broder (Fog), Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), and Christopher and Jennifer Gunst (Mystic Chords Of Memory).

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There's nothing accidental about Dumb Luck, the latest project from Jimmy Tamborello (The Postal Service, Figurines). True, the record's fractured electronics always seem serendipitous, this close to collapsing completely, and held together by dental floss. But that feeling results from the meticulous and deliberate way Tamborello handles those bursts of splintered sound, and his ability to elevate just the right snippet or melodic string to provide a toehold for the listener. The contributions of guest vocalists help out more than a little as well; on "To A Fault," Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste floats his wandering tenor between interludes of ecstatic noise, while Jenny Lewis grounds "Roll On" in a gentle country vibe. And then there's "Rock My Boat," in which the electronics mostly take a backseat to Mia Doi Todd's delicate, pillow-soft tones. At its core however, the record is powered by Tamborello's arsenal of beats, scratches and sound effects. Against that ragged digitized background, every song sounds dense and interesting. But it's his skill with blending that experimentation into solidly structured and appealing tunes that makes the record special. If computers had hearts, Tamborello's messy laptop poetry could teach them how to fall in love. --Matthew Cooke

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 24, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2007
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sub Pop
  • ASIN: B000NQR7SO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,961 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Cale E. Reneau on April 9, 2007
Format: Audio CD
It has been six years since Dntel last released a full-length album. Since that time, Jimmy Tamborello has undergone quite a transformation; from underground electro programmer to full-fledged indie pop god. Whether he was busy being one half of the uber-successful The Postal Service or putting out albums as James Figurine, Tamborello has found countless ways to stay busy. "Dumb Luck," the long-awaited follow up to 2001's "Life Is Full of Possibilities," sounds like an expected mixture of everything that Tamborello has accomplished over the last six years. In doing so, it largely abandons the sound that separated Dntel from Tamborello's numerous other projects.

The lead-off and title track, "Dumb Luck" features Tamborello's stylistically unflattering voice offering tidbits of self-pity such as, "Don't forget that it's dumb luck that got you here" or "you can't trust your friends, they will betray you." The song begins with the largely disjointed flutterings of Jimmy's production, but eventually collapses into a simple acoustic guitar with minimal electronic effects in the background. It is a decent song, but like most songs sung by Tamborello (i.e. James Figurine's 2006 album), the production value far outweighs the vocal performance.

In many ways, it feels as if "Dumb Luck" is less of a Dntel album and more of a "Jimmy Tamborello featuring All of His Friends" album. Aside from the title track, every song is sung by a guest performer. Some of these tracks work rather well, while others feel stale and generally unmemorable.

"To a Fault" featuring Grizzly Bear, for example, is a rater awesome track. Here, it actually sounds like a Dntel song should sound like, with minimal emphasis placed on vocals and more on everything else.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alex Leone on November 1, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Jimmy Tamborello is one of my favorite electronic musicians. His new CD "Dumb Luck" is a quite a departure from "Life is Full of Possibilities." The CD is an amazing mix of Electronic and Acoustic music. It blends Jimmy's electronic style well with the guitars and vocals provided by his guests. He is one of the best around, and highly under-appreciated. His work is totally original, and always fresh and new and inspiring. I give this 5/5 stars.
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Format: Audio CD
Under the name of Dntel, Jimmy Tamborello has taken awhile making the follow-up to "Life is Full of Possibilities." Sometimes I doubted he'd get around to producing one.

But after six years, at last he has -- "Dumb Luck," a wobbling trippy little album, saturated with some of the top indie talents. The opening is rather weak, but the remaining songs are beautifully poignant and beautiful.

It opens with what sounds like a mellotron having a grand mal seizure. Tamborello croons, "Just don't forget/that it's dumb luck/that got you here/don't fool yourself/cause misfortune's waiting/for the best time to appear.... And no one remembers even one word that left your mouth/All the melodies were stolen from the songs by someone else..."

After it's liquefied your eardrums, the music thankfully smooths out into a sweeping Sigur-Rosian trip-epic, and switches again into a folky little tune augmented with snowy synth. And Tamborello continues ominously singing of the lack of creativity, soul and talent of his subject. All I could think of was certain MTV stars.

The songs that follow are more even -- trippling psychfolk, delicate windy blip-ballads, country songs over a layer of buzzing synth, jangling little ballads, trip-brass and soulful chorales, blurry rockers, and finally an exquisitely ethereal little ballad.

And the list of collaborators reads like an indie who's-who: Conor Oberst, Fog, Jenny Lewis, Grizzly Bear, the Mystic Chords of Memory, Lali Puna and Mia Doi Todd. All these are brilliantly and almost seamlessly made, except for "The Distance" with Arthur & Yu -- too jangly at times, but still listenable.
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Format: Audio CD
As a huge fan of Dntel's other work, especially Life is Full of Possibilities, I about freaked out when I saw that a new album was out. It's taken me awhile to get an opinion on it.

At first, the lyrics kind of get in the way. It seemed too much of a vocal "hipster indie" album and that really pissed me off at first. However, I have tried really hard to get into this album because I just cannot give up on this guy. I've found that I actually really like this album, but for totally different reasons that I like the previous ones.

The melodic nature of this album still gets in the way at times, as I've always been more intrigued by his sampling/sequencing. This album, electronically, is phenominal. This guy thinks of stuff that is just mind boggling.

A lot of the vocalists I'm not crazy about (track #4) but to be able to pull this kind of stuff off - melodic vocals and guitar work along with the glitch, is actually pretty refreshing to hear and that's where I learned to love this album.

My favorite track is #6 - Rock my Boat, followed by #2, To a Fault. I'd say this because the vocals in these songs are more interesting/flow well with the concept of the album.

If anyone is just getting into this type of stuff and are more interested in the electronic aspect rather than the vocal indie-ness, I recommend checking out Lusine's "Iron City" or "Serial Hodgepodge", Mum's "Yesterday was Dramatic, Today is OK", or Fennesz's album "Venice" which actually has a really cool vocal track by David Sylvian. Check it out.
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