The first song on Ridgewood, New York nocturnal pop duo HDLSS’ long-awaited Selections from DUMB album is “Colonizer,” a track that properly represents the dark tone of the album, but also uses elements of caribbean music which is all the rage in pop. That usage of sunny instrumentation isn’t a bid for mass appeal however, it’s part of an ironic statement on the white capitalistic appropriation of West Indian music – and pretty much everything else.
That clever technical device is indicative of the creativity and agency apparent throughout Selections from DUMB, Far and Wolfy’s first release since a 2012 hiatus and name change from Headless Horseman. Far’s vocals were drowned into methodical, beautifully sullen soundscapes that parallel the perilous state of western culture they skewer throughout the 14-track album.
From calling out erasure on the aptly-titled “The Revisionist,” to the ”we wasn’t born dumb was dumbed down” proclamation on “Bystander 2,” featuring Heems, the lyrics are harshly critical of an establishment seemingly leading us toward a dystopia that doleful songs like “Hellboy/Puppet” are the perfect soundtrack for.
The project shifts sonic approach by the track, a part of the what the duo has described as “subverting genres of music” in order to narrate different aspects of society. Moody keys, sinister synths and pitch down samples broker the album’s most immersive moments, such as “Hellboy/Puppet” and “Bystander 2.” However even the album’s bright compositions, such as the euphoric “False Flag,” are infused with lyrics taking the POV of a person exploring conspiracy theories.
Selections from DUMB is a well-crafted project that expertly reflects the decaying, increasingly-autonomous society that bore it.
You can stream below, and purchase here.