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    The Drums

    The Drums( 2010 )
    Best Friend / Me And The Moon / Lets Go Surfing / Book Of Stories / Skippin' Town / Forever And Ever Amen / Down By The Water / It Will All End In Tears / We Tried / I Need Fun In My Life / I'll Never Drop My Sword / The Future

    The Drums have been killed by hype. Oh, I long for the days when John Peel would unearth these bands and they would creep out of the airwaves and have a natural build-up. None of this 'best of 2010' when we're still in December of the previous year. Yeah, I fell for the hype as well declaring to nobody in particular that I was disappointed with this debut Drums album. Well, The Drums basically have two kinds of song, 'Best Friend' and 'Let's Go Surfin' and we've heard those already so why really bother with the rest of the album? Are these guys inventive, good musicians, etc etc? No, but then again, who else is these days? Do The Drums sound like themselves? Yes, although their sound is made up of component parts from British indie of the 1980s, the album draws you in once you've forgotten you were told these guys were meant to be important somehow. The Drums make music as escapism, simple melodies married to insistent rhythms and very simple, yet clean, production values. I also like the way no song much exceeds four minutes in length, there's no progressive values in terms of trying to invent a new sound - the retrospective nature of the album actually places them sideways enough to the current scene, like Vampire Weekend, that The Drums distinctiveness is almost wholly assured.

    I can understand problems. 'Books Of Swords' arrives like a slower version of 'Let's Be Surfin' and people with short attention spans most likely switch off at this stage. Well, we've got those same breezy melodies, the same plucked four note guitar riffs, the same 80s indie echo, the same 'i'm not a singers singer' strangely deadpan vocal lines, etc. 'Skippin Town' is all but a refrain of 'Let's Go Surfin' again although this time with less affecting lyrics. Still, it's hard to not enjoy these simple happy melodies.'Forever and Amen' sounds like very early, post Joy Division New Order, 'Down By The Water' is a very slow ballad with little instrumentation and attempted passionate vocals that, well, i'm sure the idea was there but we don't really have enough vocal prowess to be able to pull this off and the apparent vulnerability doesn't convince. The tunes start to run out as the album progresses but one gem remains to save the albums reputation. With vocals that ape the softer moments of Smashing Pumpkins, with 80s jangle guitars and a compositional pattern that sounds more natural that a lot of the formula songs on display elsewhere, 'I'll Never Drop My Sword' emerges as the highlight of the entire set. It also provides hope for the future as perhaps like fellow New Yorkers 'The Strokes', The Drums are always destined to struggle to carve out a meaningful album career over a decade or so. If this is their one hit, people will remember it of course, but is that enough?

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    this page last updated 16/01/11


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