Dum Dum Boys - Let There Be Noise LP


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Label: In The Red

Often obscured by the ascent of Flying Nun's legendary roster is New Zealand's late 1970s / early 1980s punk scene. Based in Auckland, a cadre of acts influenced by The Ramones and Stooges briefly thrived. The Dum Dum Boys – the first NZ punk band to record and release a full-length in their native country – were hooked on the Ann Arbor sounds of Iggy Pop.

The Dum Dum Boys' Let There Be Noise (1981) is chock-full of James Williamson and Deniz Tek riffage; it also contains elements of Iggy Pop's nihilism. Take the lyrics to "Something To Say" – it's refrain repeatedly asking "What am I living for?" – and juxtapose them to the band's namesake track from Pop's The Idiot (1977): "What happened to Zeke? He's dead on jones, man." "Stalking The Streets" taps into the meaninglessness of James Taylor and Dennis Wilson's Two-Lane Blacktop journey through the American Southwest.

The Dum Dum Boys understood the proto-punk sounds of 1970s Ann Arbor and Cleveland. More importantly, they also got the vibe. Life stinks – sometimes in the places (Auckland) you’d least expect it.

As the title suggests, Let There Be Noise is anything but a record incessantly focused on introspective doom and gloom. "Don’t Be A Bitch" rivals Radio Birdman's "I-94" for lyrical thick-headedness—like sticking a hot 454 in a Ford Falcon gasser, the song's simultaneously awesome and dumb. That's a difficult balance to strike.

Let There Be Noise was self-released and copies quickly became damn near unobtanium, even in New Zealand. (I should know: I lived there.) In The Red has performed a major service by reissuing this obscure and outstanding record. Independent New Zealand releases from the early 1980s didn’t get their due; distribution out of the country was essentially non-existent. It’s nice to see that finally getting corrected. – Ryan Leach, Terminal Boredom

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