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It’s been an interesting trajectory for one Oliver Perry, better known as indie-pop multi-instrumentalist D.D Dumbo. With a sturdy live reputation scoring sold-out headliners and big-name support slots, Perry could have easily rushed in at any given opportunity over the last couple of years to impact on hype from the blogosphere. Indeed, Perry feels like the last of the proverbial Mohicans in this sense; being one of the final artists – at least on a local scale – to have their momentum carried by a part of online music culture that is nearing extinction. While some next-big-things peers rushed in with a pastiche of half-cooked ideas on debut LPs long since relegated to the bottom of some JB Hi-FI bargain bin, Perry has meticulously taken his time in order to craft something with a bit more resonance and staying power. The end result is Utopia Defeated, which thankfully sees the man’s greater vision for the D.D Dumbo project realised and – to a degree – actualised in resplendent technicolour.
Chances are you have already encountered the LP’s two singles, which also double as standouts across the D.D Dumbo canon. Satan takes off on a magic carpet ride with its rollicking, percussive grooves and tumbling spiral of guitar loops; while Walrus strides forth on the back of a boom-thwack rhythm and backmasked vocal warps. These are exemplary demonstrations of not only what Perry is going for, but what he is capable of – a masterful guitarist, a clever arranger and, when the moment calls for it, a powerhouse vocalist in the manner of Peter Gabriel or noted comparison point Wally “Gotye” DeBacker. You may also note, however, that these are the first two songs one hears on Utopia Defeated, which leads to perhaps the most glaring of the album’s flaws – its top-heaviness. That’s not to entirely discredit later gems in the tracklisting – the quick-paced, soulful Brother immediately comes to mind – but it takes a lot longer to work your way up to moments such as these if you’re too preoccupied with the goings-on of the album’s front-end. There’s also the mid-album lull to account for, which brings more forgettable moments like the organ-heavy dirge The Day That I Found God.
Still, in the grand scheme of things, these are minor quarrels to have over a debut album. The good that is on offer across the larger part of Utopia Defeated far surpasses any negatives that may arise. This is a focused, assured effort from an artist that has made good on every past claim that bigger, better things were to come for them and their work. There is both longevity and further bursts of creativity yet to come.