78. Dumpster: See Through Me

(BulletProof, 1998)
(BulletProof, 1998)

Some bands fly under the radar, and Dumpster may be the ultimate case in point. The Australian band has been criminally overlooked, and Dumpster’s 1998 See Through Me is an album that provided a “true alternative sound,” as one reviewer put it. And I tend to agree. There’s no mistaking the sound of the decade in which bands such as Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam rose to prominence and helped usher in a new era in rock in the process. However, Dumpster’s sound lacked the straight, going-for-the-jugular raw delivery of those bands. It had more of those brooding awesome textures that made Neutral Milk Hotel and Slint such fun to listen to.

Of course, you also get some of that Prayer Chain sound, which was one of, if not THE best band on the Christian scene in the ’90s.  If the Prayer Chain was the Christian answer to grunge, Dumpster was the same for post-rock (or post-hardcore or whatever you want to call it). Dumpster was easily as talented as the Prayer Chain and See Through Me is an unbelievably solid record. It has the kind of fade in/fade out composition, with elements of both hard and soft/delicate rock. And it never bores.

And when I said it flies under the radar, it really does. Even all-knowing, all-seeing Google gives us precious little about the band, more eager to educate us on the art of “dumpster diving” than the band that rocked in relative obscurity. To complicate matters, there is more than one band who went by the name Dumpster. In fact, Dumpster’s See Through Me is so criminally unknown it makes King’s X look like glory hogs (a band that’s the poster child for world’s most underrated group!).

As far as the See Through Me’s music, the first track Shovel is the perfect stage setter for everything that follows. There is gentle push/pull, up/down feel to the music as it meanders along with a dissonant guitar sound. On A Way to Stay, the song unfolds like an aimless, unhurried walk in the park. But there’s always the expectation that something good is just around the corner. When Dumpster does crank it up and let loose, which is what they do on Divining, they lose none of the excitement (and they sound a tad like Poor Old Lu to be honest).

Sometimes I think Dumpster has a Starflyer 59 vibe, but only for a moment. More often than not it’s Slint’s Spiderland that comes to mind, which is probably the fairest comparison there is. Truly, Dumpster’s See Through Me is a stunning, solid record from start to finish. It’s a pity nobody’s heard it.


  1. Shovel
  2. Set In Gold
  3. Co-Pilot
  4. She Comes Back Sometimes
  5. Divining
  6. I’ll Know My Home, When I See It
  7. A Way To Stay
  8. Noise In Me
  9. Overcome
  10. Rhinoplasty
  11. Whose Sorrow Now




One thought on “78. Dumpster: See Through Me

  1. What a wonderful album. Loved it at the time, but not many in my circle did, I felt a bit out in the cold. I also got into their next album Sky-Fi which was I think, on par, but it’s even less known than See Through Me, if that’s possible.

    By the way, track 11 (at least the version I have), “Whose Sorrow Now” then a “hidden track” – which was popular at the time, called “Anywhere but Inside” – which on its own was one of my favourite songs.

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