They used to be fun, The Drums. They used to be really fun. They were the lads who ran up and down beaches singing about happy stuff like surfing and not caring, but now Jonathan Pierce seems to have thrown a wobbler and gone all moody and dramatic with new B-Side ‘I Don’t Want To Go Alone’. All that baby antelope-esque dancing seems a million miles away now…
When they first emerged, The Drums were a colourful flash of summery, Americana surf pop and their individual sound was very playful and just plain happy. The title of their EP, Summertime, was a dead giveaway that The Drums would be the soundtrack to summer 2009. ‘Let’s Go Surfing’ was an instant indie pop, classic. It was the height of catchiness and although The Drums themselves now claim to be bored of the track, it’s a firm favourite with fans of the Brooklyn band.
Their debut self-titled album was a continuation from their poppy beginnings but started to incorporate a more melancholy tone through tracks like ‘It Will All End In Tears’ and ‘Down By The Water’. By the time second album Portamento came around, The Drums had more or less turned their backs on their originally light-hearted sound in favour of a deeper approach but still managed to impress with tracks like ‘Book Of Revelation’ (which I feel is their best song to date).
And now we are here. ‘Days’, the second song on Portamento, has recently been released as a single with brand new track ‘I Don’t Want To Go Alone’ as the B-Side. As usual, Pierce’s sweet, rasping vocals marry with the music in an effortless way to produce a rich, enjoyable tone which fits perfectly with the electronic music. That energetic spark that they once had seems to have fizzled out a little and while that might be slightly disappointing for fans of their earlier material, you could say that it does bring something quite interesting to the table. The synths, relaxed drum beat and echoing ‘ohhhhhh’s’ throughout make for a listening experience that verges on the ethereal and, personally, I like it.
The B-side is an expansion on the new direction the band decided to take with Portamento and if anything it shows they have the ability to be versatile. If The Drums make a third album, I expect they would come out with something completely different again and that can only be a good thing. Yes, it isn’t the liveliest or most exciting song but that doesn’t mean it’s not a lovely piece of music. I say well done to The Drums for having the guts to break away from what made them famous and attracted their first fans. Good job!
By Elizabeth Coop
Dance Yrself Clean