A disclaimer--if you intend to scratch at these Bumps, an addiction to rhythm addiction is advised. This trio's eponymous debut is 90 percent drum patterns and fills rendered at DJ-friendly lengths; the other 10 percent consists of twittering electronics used with an economical sparseness. A diversion for Tortoise's John McEntire, John Herndon, and Dan Bitney, Bumps allows the postrock skinsmen to show off without having to cede to interjections like, say, a commanding Jeff Parker guitar lead, a Doug McCombs low-end depth charge, or a xylophone sploosh.
The hard-hitting "Baby Johann" flaunts brawny, deceptively intricate kit-work that needs no embellishment, while "Intermission" establishes a loose-limbed, snare-happy groove, abandons it for a tom-tom breakdown, before reverting back. On "Tryplmeade Gorsmatch," bare-bones drumming takes a backseat to a percolating swarm of electronic bell tones, and the fatally funky "A Safe Balm" openly flirts with Tropicalia. At times, Bumps becomes a game of "spot that Tortoise reference"; "Can You See?" rips off Standards' "Seneca" almost wholesale, mirroring the same incestuous tendencies common to the band's other side projects. A novel way, perhaps, to think of this album is as a killer backbeat to the environmental music happening around you--co-workers flappin' their gums, groaning garbage trucks, etc. Crank up the volume to blot the world out; turn it down for myriad sonic combinations.