On Halloween, Charleston punk band Dumb Doctors treated us to their new album, Nervous System. It delivers 23 minutes of punk rock with lyrics that reflect upon the stressful, anxiety-ridden topics that flood our everyday lives.
Dumb Doctors currently consists of Scott Dence (vocals and guitar), Jim Faust (bass) and Kain Naylor (drums). According to Scott, the trio approached the album head-on by committing to weekly practices since July at their abandoned-home rehearsal/recording studio dubbed “Planet Hollyweird”, located in Hollywood, SC. Scott and Faust would take advantage of the commute from Charleston as a time to seek inspiration from punk artists like Minutemen, X, The Dicks, and James Chance. “I think that was a big influence on our vibes and why I think these songs are a little more on the punk side”, says Dence.
Throughout the album, Dence forms lyrics that reflect the contemporary times without straying from the witty medical references fans know and love. The second track, “Hypochondriac” is straightforward with these references with lines such as “someone better call a doc / and put some oatmeal in a sock / I know it sounds abnormal / but I always feel horrible”, which I took as a reflection upon the desire to find a cure for internal negativity created by external chaos. “Hypochondriac” shreds to a close with just over a minute of heavy, raw jam.
Track four, “X-Ray Eyes”, is a love song that goes further than your average mush. With lines like “you see through me / that’s why you are the machine of my dreams”, it brings up the idea of having a person (or robot) by your side through tough, changing times, who knows you so well that you can figure yourselves out together.
Following that is the title track, “Nervous System”, which is just under three minutes of reflection on international affairs and the physical anxieties caused by news headlines. The final track, “Sick Sad World” states, “you think it’s all in my head / but it’s just the news you read”, which can certainly be taken as either political or personal. It urges listeners to gather all of the facts about a given issue, and don’t take what one source tells you as the truth.
Overall, Nervous System relays the strengths that each member brings to the trio, and even captures some of the unique energy that Dumb Doctors brings to a live show. It’s hard to find that kind of energy in local bands. You can catch Dumb Doctors live at Tin Roof on Thursday, November 8th, where they’ll open for rickoLus from Jacksonville, FL.
Stream Nervous System by Dumb Doctors below.