For a band formed by four individuals with tenacious, clashing personalities that threatened to divide the group at its inception, DIM=SUM’s self-titled debut album presents 40 minutes of solid compositions despite their shaky start. Filing themselves under experimental rock, heavy-mellow, alternative, and post-folk, these categories barely encompass the stylistic and lyrical breadth of DIM=SUM’s debut tracks.
Opening with synth reverberations joined by a thrumming bass, the first track, “The Stones Have All Been Turned,” builds a picture of the band’s diverse sonic influences from the get-go. Throughout the album, DIM=SUM effortlessly blends in the gentle folky strum of acoustic strings, the slick jazz swell of synthesized brass, the fuzzy distortion of the alt-rock guitar, and a steady beat on a drum kit.
Shuyler Jansen and Chris Mason’s vocals tie the tracks together with relaxed harmony. As the album comes to a close with “To the Depths,” DIM=SUM retrospects from adulthood alienation to a nostalgic yearning for simpler times. The track culminates in a euphony of echoing vocals singing about memories of going back “to the island where you were young,” closing with a light flutter of fleeting acoustics.
The album gives off the vibe of an impromptu jam session, throwing back to the band’s modest beginning in a suburban Burnaby basement. However, DIM=SUM’s self-titled debut is not for easy listening. It’s the type of album that you listen to on a sleepless summer night, alone with your thoughts and the hum of the air conditioner.
With their genuine desire to experiment with sound and explore topics of connection, community, and reconciling the past, present, and future, DIM=SUM proves that they have a lot more to offer beyond this debut album. In fact, for those yearning for more, the band’s sophomore album is already in the works.