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The Drums

The Drums

[Moshi Moshi; 2010]

By ; June 15, 2010 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

The New Musical Express has been the biggest hype machine in the music world for the last four decades. Their infatuation with being the first to declare the “next big thing” has pushed NME to unthinkably levels of unintentional self-satire, chief among them the declaration of the Arctic Monkeys’ debut as the 5th greatest British album of all time before the album was even a week old. Accordingly, it should be of no surprise to anyone that they’re playing the hyperbole game again, this time with the Brooklyn-based foursome, the Drums.

What is surprising is the NME’s level of accuracy with their take on the Drums. “The best British band from America” is more or less on the money as it’s a great description of what the Drums sound like on their self-titled debut. As for specifics, the Drums’ influences are an amalgamation of British sad-rock with ’60s pop jangle. Don’t take that to mean The Drums is a sad record. Think more Housemartins than Smiths; nobody here is as melodramatic and miserable as Morrissey. Even on the darker material (e.g. “Best Friends” and “It Will All End In Tears”), the Drums inject energy into their performances which keep the songs from bringing down the mood of the album.

The problem with that approach is it takes a very careful dance to keep things interesting over the length of an LP. The Drums has some noticeable struggles with this. It takes 21 minutes before there is even a significant change in tempo, leading to a lot of song blurring. This in effect hides the quality of the songwriting, as tracks “Let’s Go Surfing” and “Forever And Ever, Amen” simply shine when isolated. Chalk this one up to poor track sequencing rather than the raw material itself.

Petty criticisms aside, what we have here is a refreshing summer record. More importantly, this is the kind of music that gets you moving and excited. Songs like “Let’s Go Surfing” will get even the grumpiest friend you know to hit the beach. The Drums won’t offer you anything you haven’t had before, but the band does have a charm that is all their own, and The Drums is a appreciable improvement over their last release. It’s the kind of album you can play with the windows open during a July road trip, and those kinds of albums are a dying species in indie rock.


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