Busy day at work yesterday, and a perfect opportunity to catch up with some of the advanced streams I’d been receiving lately. I grabbed a coffee and pressed play on Dummy’s Mandatory Enjoyment. After releasing two EPs in 2020, both of which I liked, it’s the L.A. band’s debut full length and first release for the ever reliable Trouble In Mind Records. Somehow, I found myself still listening to it three hours later – the stream automatically restarts after finishing the album. Not sure if I was in a state of flow due to the nature of my work or because of the music, perhaps a bit of both. Sure to say, Mandatory Enjoyment offered a perfect backdrop to a productive morning.
When I paid a little more attention to the music, I started to see how Dummy draws you in, hook their tentacles in your skin, unwilling to let you go. Their music blends noisy guitar pop with sonic influences ranging from jazz, to synth to drone to showgaze to new age. The songs on Mandatory Enjoyment have a lot going on, tender a great deal to discover, but also leave ample space for reflection and mind wandering. H.V.A.C may be the best example of this, with his hypnotic and repetitive rhythm and the broad soundscapes. Ultimately, Mandatory Enjoyment works on a subsconscious and conscious level.