The Drums

The Drums

Moshi Moshi / Island, 2010

http://thedrums.com

REVIEW BY: Jedediah Pressgrove

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/17/2010

The Drums is quite listenable, as it damn well should be. The band of the same name lists The Smiths as an influence, after all, and is stuck in the 1980’s.

I wouldn’t consider it unusual to play this album several times in a row – a testament to its conciseness if nothing else. The production relies on reverb and gloss, an appropriate combination given that the band’s lyrics attempt to be darkly cute. Sometimes this tone is very effective. “It Will All End In Tears” is anchored on a sensitive line, but the song has a spooky vocal that counteracts any whininess. In contrast, “Book Of Stories” drifts into cutesy territory that I deem unpleasant: “I thought my life would get easier / Instead it’s getting harder / Instead it’s getting harder / I thought my life would get easier / Instead it’s getting darker / Instead it’s getting colder / Without you.” my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

But I excuse lyrics like these because the album is generally fun. As dark as The Drums want to be (they cite Joy Division and The Wake, for example), it would be difficult to be in a bad mood while listening to any of these songs. Part of the pleasure is the breezy pacing. Most of these tracks are less than four minutes, and none of them last five. Additionally, simple and note-heavy guitar licks give many songs considerable momentum, synthesizers make for dreamy backgrounds, and drummer Connor Hanwick is a beat tactician far more likely to make your toes tap than impress you, or turn you off, with any skill he may possess. Of course, the key is singer Jonathan Pierce, who understands the importance of a hook.

“Skippin’ Town” and “Forever And Ever, Amen” are the most infectious examples of everything The Drums can do (i.e., the songs supposedly demonstrate my personal claims about the band’s sound from the last two paragraphs). On the other side of the spectrum is “I Need Fun In My Life.” I’m sure we all share the need in the song’s title, but lethargic guitar playing and restrained vocals aren’t fun. This song is the opposite of what The Drums should be doing.  

The Drums should be sampled by anyone who likes 1980’s guitar-driven pop. I could see the band having a broader fan base than other indie acts, but we’re not talking about anything groundbreaking here, just kinda dark guys who write catchy music with lyrics that perhaps The Beatles could have sang better.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2010 Jedediah Pressgrove and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Moshi Moshi / Island, and is used for informational purposes only.