Available on: Moshi Moshi LP
A Brooklyn-based band with an obsession for Manchester’s Factory Records who’ve made a name for themselves riding recent years’ trend for jangly, faded surf-pop, I’d be lying if I said the Drums didn’t confuse me as much as they intrigue me. Maybe I’m missing something about both Manchester and Brooklyn, but they’re not the first places that spring to mind when I think of beach life. Delving further into the past of founding Drums members Jonathan Pierce and Jacob Graham however, their affinity with Beach Boys-informed melodies makes more sense – both boys hail from the sunshine state of Florida.
Since their debut EP, Summertime!, a Drums full-length has been eagerly awaited. The Drums contains only two songs from said EP, ‘Down by the Water’ and ‘Let’s Go Surfing’, both of which contain flashes of greatness. Stand-out new cuts like ‘Skipping Town’, with its Orange Juice-inspired contrast of heavy basslines and bright guitars, and ‘Me and the Moon’, which contains the sort of drum line it’s impossible to not tap your feet to, expand on this. On further listens, the influence of bands such as The Smiths, New Order and The Wake becomes more evident, especially on the album’s more melancholic second half, featuring songs like ‘I’ll Never Drop my Sword’ and ‘Forever and Ever, Amen’.
Overall though, The Drums is a little too reliant on its cheery guitar lines and tales of summer longing. Individually, tracks like ‘Let’s Go Surfing’ are enjoyable because of their breezy hooks and whistles to the wind, but over the course of an album they too easily merge into one unrecognisable wall of sound, crying out for something to break the predictable mood.
With a bit more bite and a bit of experience, The Drums could really stand out from this current wealth of indie bands making washed-out summer jams, but at the moment this neat, enjoyable collection of songs is a bit too close to a faded ‘50s postcard – the aesthetic and lighting are both spot on, but you can’t help feeling that you’ve seen it all before.