Dntel - Dumb Luck
Mike Mantin 31/05/2007
As one half of The Postal Service, with Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard and on his own as Dntel, Jimmy Tamborello has played quite a part in making electronica accessible to indie kids. 'Dumb Luck', his belated follow-up to 2001's superb 'Life Is Full Of Possibilities') promises more of the same, with a huge array of guest vocalists ranging from indie elite (Conor Oberst, Jenny Lewis) to cult bands (Lali Puna, Grizzly Bear). The album's first half is a masterclass of indietronica, its varied cast of singers pulled together by Dntel's distinctive, fuzzy beats. 'Roll On', Jenny Lewis' contribution, is particularly gorgeous: Lewis' voice is perfect for the song's combination of acoustic guitars and subtle, stuttered beats. A true standout, it's the closest Tamberello comes to matching the wistful electro-pop he perfected on his work with Gibbard.
Sadly, the album's last few tracks are far too forgettable, and the album simply trails off. Each song is pleasant but subdued, and despite efforts from the guest vocalists, they have difficulty maintaining attention. Even his collaboration with Conor Oberst, which worked so well on Bright Eyes' #2 US single 'Take It Easy (Love Nothing)', is a huge disappointment, sounding devoid of Oberst's personality. Perhaps Tamborello should have included more songs like the album's brilliant opening title track, the only track on which he tries his hand at vocals. An epic which sees Tamborello concerned about his new-found fame ("Don't forget that it's dumb luck that brought you here"), it has a personal edge lacking in some of the album's later songs. Though it's a very listenable and frequently impressive album, 'Dumb Luck''s inconsistency gets irritating, and even with its short running time you're unlikely to make it to the finish.