Album Review

The Drums

The Drums

by The Drums

7 / 10
12th August 2010

Reviewed by Gareth Meade

On their debut EP Summertime, The Drums didn’t display a lot of range beyond closely resembling The Cure or closely resembling the endless collection of bands riding a wave of surf rock resurgence. At first glance, neither of these things mattered because the EP was a perfect evocation of its title and contained one of the more essential slices of summery pop in the form of ‘Let’s Go Surfing’. But EP’s aren’t always built to last, and it soon became as easy to be enamoured with their mannerisms as it was to be irritated by them.

Which brings us to The Drums’ self-titled debut, an album that all of the above could just as easily apply to. The band fails to truly broaden their palette, instead honing in on a ‘Joy Division at the beach’ aesthetic, which will either pique your interest or turn you off completely. Two tracks are transposed from the EP to the album, including ‘Let’s Go Surfing’, which is still the most convincing, tight and addictive The Drums manage to sound; and ‘Down By The Water’, a more meditative side to the band that they could have stood to attempt more often.

What they do do more often though is songs like ‘Skippin’ Town’, ‘Best Friend’ and ‘It Will All End In Tears’. They’re generally chirpy songs, often about less chirpy subjects, with lots of chord-less guitar, trebly bass, sharp snare and “oh-oh’s”. It’s a formula which could be applied to myriad other bands, but because of the way The Drums embody the archetype of an 80’s post-punk or no-wave group, you get the feeling that they’re convinced they’re the only band that sounds like this. It at least gives the album some conviction, as The Drums know and stick to their strengths.

But that also means things get a bit stale before the final notes play out. Persistence will land you at the feet of ‘I’ll Never Drop My Sword’ though, which as the penultimate track is also the least expected. There is an underlying sweetness to the song that allows it to carry more weight than a lot of what came before. It’s these moments that will convince you to come back to the album, even when you think you’re sick of it. Sure, there’ll be songs you’ll never care to hear again, but there’ll also be some that you’ll want to hear over and over.

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