People who have spent a fair amount of time in the Columbia music scene are likely familiar with Lou Nevins. Over the years he has made his mark in bands ranging from the prog punk fretless bass and drums duo Arpad Leen to his current stint with garage-y hard rockers Monte Carlos to his time in the indie pop meets heartland rock band Malone. While these projects have gained him a following amongst those of us who are willing to dig and find cool music in this town, Nevins had tricks up his sleeve that many local music lifers weren’t that aware of. I realized this recently when I learned of The Fumes – a mostly solo project that somehow released three projects online that somehow totally evaded my notice. Having my curiosity piqued I decided to check out their latest release – the Post Ironic album.
Opening with “This Is Gonna Hurt,” a largely acoustic based lo-fi blues song that comes across with both setting the vibe for the release and projecting a swagger that suggests that there may be more lying beneath the surface. While the blues plays a large role here musically, there seems to be an indie rock lens that filters it as they go into funkier domains on “Drag Strip 2000” and the lo-fi dance vibe of “Can You Feel Me.” While Monte Carlos guitarist Anthony Zager handles guitar work on several tracks, this is mostly Nevins’ show as he takes us on a sonic journey that seems to have synths and drum machines taking some capacity (which would be unthinkable in his other bands). More indie and dance based than his other projects, the Fumes’ music emerges harnesses some of the vibe of his other bands but addresses the new for a hybrid that’s part lo-fi bluesy grit, part indie swagger, and part dance music from the gutter. All of it makes for an album that revealing that Nevins does have more up his creative sleeve than many of us expected (which, as someone who’s seen many of his bands over the years, says a lot).
Whether The Fumes will ever play live is hard to say. Nevins is usually busy with several different bands so adding the Fumes and what that would entail (adding extra musicians? Looping?) to his schedule may be unlikely. You may have to go online to find this (to the best of my knowledge, you can only get it on the band’s bandcamp page) but the Post Ironic album remains an interesting listen that’s worth the few minutes it may take to search for it.