Anyone who’s already stumbled across the frankly bonkers single ‘Tahiti Hungry Jungle’ by Italian duo Dumbo Gets Mad, could be forgiven for assuming them to be musical mad hatters with tongues firmly lodged in their cheeks. And you’d be right; that track somehow combines jungle drums, an Azealia Banks ’212′ sample – no, not that lyric – and a repetitive, fuzzed-out guitar line that halfway through, breaks out into the type of riff you’d hear in a Bollywood musical. Like we said, bonkers. But while your brain struggles to process all the various components and demands that you hate it, your feet and hands take on a life of their own and start twisting and jerking in time, tap tap tap tap. You want to dance and embrace total strangers. Then, it hits you: this works! This is genius!
Genius, but misleading, for the rest of the album is markedly different in style (but no worse for it). There’s nothing else as bizarre, but they’ve still managed to create the ultimate feel good party album; ultimate because, no matter what type of shindig you’re at, there’s a track on here to suit. Running the gamut from – deep breath – bass-heavy funk to blissed-out Balearic vibes, to surf guitar to Motown soul to groove-led psychedelica, there really isn’t much that Quantum Leap doesn’t attempt. Ambitious doesn’t quite cover it, but its greatest strength is that nothing comes across as forced or contrived; instead it’s fresh and razor sharp, each style and motif perfectly realised, each track so accomplished.
It’s also shrouded in mystery, for neither their website, their Facebook page, or even font of all 21st Century knowledge Wikipedia reveals any actual names or details; all we know is it’s one Italian guy, his sometime singer wife, and that that may be them on the cover. Whoever’s responsible, one things for sure, they’re a magpie alchemist of the highest order, never resting for a moment, conquering and assimilating with a keen ear for detail. ‘Radical Leap’ and ‘Before Kiddos Bath’ both sound like Tame Impala on Valium, while ‘Bam Bam’ woozily strays into Euro Disco territory. The beat gets a little harder as ‘Cougars’ – oh, such names! – drags you into Studio 54 before our personal favourite, ‘Punch & Tea’, lifts the chords from Sixto Rodriguez’s ‘Cause’ and plonks them on a rum-soaked Caribbean beach, with a steel-pedal guitar solo thrown in for good measure.
Containing the most euphoric two minutes of music we’ve heard in a long time, it’s the perfect end to thirteen tracks of pure endorphins, music that lifts you up, floats through your consciousness and leaves you grinning from ear to ear. None of it should really work, least of all stacked one after the other, but if the size of the risk is reflected in the size of the reward, Quantum Leap comes up trumps as a glorious mishmash of the mad, the wondrous, and the exciting. Nobody will come close to producing anything like this all year, for the simple reason that nobody else would be crazy enough to try. But indulge it, we urge you, and it won’t let you down. God Speed Dumbo Gets Mad; it’s a hell of a ride.
Stream the world-endingly good ‘Tahiti Hungry Jungle’ below, and head to Dumbo Gets Mad’s site [here]
Words by Derek Robertson.