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The Drums, surfing contrasts

Call it evolution, call it (musical) maturity. After the sunny and chock-full homonymous magna opera, the Brooklyn guys re-orient the keel directing their boards towards more textured sounds and, at certain moments, even cryptic, present and clear in Let me  (mysterious and unexpected from its very first and imprinting change of rhythm) and in Bell laboratories, a crawling mist of crescent encryption.

The third full-length is a key momento, The drums do not take shortcuts and they opt for an experimental attitude and therefore, brave, very valuable.


Their indisputable frontman Jonathan Pierce sums it up perfectly, “we wanted an oneiric world but we also wanted to balance the weighing scales with the lyrics, very straightforward and honest, when not politically incorrect. We wanted to say what we have in our hearts instead of making another album with beautiful love songs that you can play as background music. We are ready to lose fans who only follow us because of Let´s go surfing.”

From the very first two cuts, the declaration of intent is quite marked. It is a Drums sound, yes, but the vibe is going to be different. After their primitive “dancer pop, it keeps the melodic sense with a raw honesty, opening new paths.” (J. C. Peña).

The decision was taken at the time and the New Yorkers acted accordingly. The candle in the front is the one illuminating and, why wait, let it be noticed from the very first cut. Magic mountain takes shelter in translucent bursts with quite a successful final turn. Pierce gives us the precedents, “when you have been on the cover of NME four times in a year, many people are going to want to be your friends and when you stop being on the cover, they search for other things. Initially, it really pissed us off, but that is where it came from, it’s a song about realizing what is good and what is not.”

The album oozes confidence about its bet. Despite its extended live performance, the hard core is that which Jacob Graham and J. Pierce make up, and which still is face on and can serve as an example for many multi-format bands, “the moment we realized being two is not a weakness but our biggest strength, the album came out in a very natural way.”

Elegant keyboards, intermittent time machine towards the 80s, deliberately obscurantist landscapes. The offer is varied among a constant darkness with escapades of lights at the end of the tunnel and a moral and a liberating trace.

There are phases of melodic exquisiteness: glitters of Pixies in I can´t pretend, the more intímate cover of Nada surf; and traces of Death cab for cutie in I hope time doesn´t change him, the rested closure Wild geese, as the season finale of a good TV show, nuanced by a structure which progressively goes up with best Sigur rós style and with echoes of Postal service.

When light makes its way in, it is welcome, those are the occasions of the duo of grand songs, Kiss me again (refreshing start, with vitamins, perfect and emphatic chorus) and Deep in my heart, a cut which evokes the twilights of their debut and Portamento.

The lo-fi reflexiveness and rhythm on edge of Brake my heart fraternizes with US national park, another tempo for the pause.

The force will come with Face of god (the trotting of the drums bundles it up from the origin) and There is nothing left, a fluid piece, emotional and even with epic shades.