Walla Walla, Washington is known for a small handful of things; wine, the sweet onion-filled Walla Walla Burrito, Washington State Penitentiary, long hot summers and slow, cold winters. At five hours away from almost everything, it's astoundingly isolated. Yet it was in this seclusion that pop enthusiasts Peter Richards and Andrew Hall started a thing called Dude York while everyone they knew was out of town. Peter sang the songs and made as much noise as possible with an overdriven guitar while Andrew, who had had never played drums before, hit every drum and cymbal on their neighbor's wrecked drum kit in an attempt to keep up. The tools were wrong, but the elements were there; this was pop music at maximum volume, but it was indebted less to the garage rock phenomenon then exploding on the West Coast than it was to Jonathan Richman, Swedish pop, and the ideal of contemporary timelinessness.
Unrelentingly melodic, Dehumanize sees the duo, along with bassist Claire England (formerly of Brite Futures) and producer José Diaz, who previously worked on Weed's “With Drug”/”Eighty” single and Chastity Belt's No Regrets, chainsaw through and rebuild in its own image pop music built from long dead rock and roll tropes, karaoke staples, studio trickery, and the Pacific Northwest's well-established musical legacy. It's evident from the moment "Sleepwalk" bursts into color, from the fried-eyed "Idol," the apocalyptic "Burnin'," and the sprawling "Believer," where Richards narrates a changing cityscape from the perspectives of everyone in its way. Built on a mountain of guitars and reinforced by an instrumental palette expanded to include samples, horns, fake E Street Band piano and a wellspring of nervous energy, this is heavy pop for heavy times.