No hace mucho leía en alguno de los blogs que normalmente suelo visitar, una lista con sus discos bluffs del 2010. En la lista aparecían nombres que desgraciadamente, para muchos son bastante importantes en la historia reciente -y menos reciente- de la música Pop; pero es que realmente sus discos de este 2010 eran auténticos petardazos, y no llegaban a la alturas de álbumes anteriores. Personalmente, este álbum de debut de The Drums lo incluiría en esa lista iniciada por el blog Grupejos. ¿El porqué? Sería una concatenación de hechos. Primero, y más importante, el hecho de que su primer Ep, Summertime (reseñado en The JangleBox), fuera un producto más que decente y que creara unas grandes expectativas que en ninguna manera se han visto reflejadas en su primer disco. Segundo, que finalmente The Drums se han convertido en otro de esos hypes apoyados y creados artificialmente por revistas y portales que todos conocemos. Y tercero, que objetivamente hablando, el disco es bastante pobre y reiterativo. Porque si no no es así no se explica de ninguna manera que en un álbum de trece temas se reitere el mismo hook de guitarra hasta la extenuación, como si su guitarrista no se hubiese aprendido otro en toda su vida. Está bien repetir el éxito de un tema (Let´s go surfing, temazo, indiscutiblemente) e incluirlo en un anuncio televisivo de coches, pero es que la guitarra del tema es prácticamente la misma de la de todas las canciones que componen este The Drums (2010). Qué decir de sus ritmos sincopados y de sus líneas de bajos… En fin, el intento de incluir tan sólo dos de los temas que aparecían en su Ep es loable, pero el nivel del disco no da para mucho más. En fin, realmente mis palabras son vanas, por el hecho de que The Drums se han convertido en toda una sensación Indie (sólo hay que ver la lista de sus actuaciones de este otoño/invierno); pero mucho me temo que con su propuesta tan sólo les dé para un par de álbumes y aparecer en la mayoría de los festivales veraniegos de medio mundo mientras su débil propuesta se mantenga en pie. O hasta que NME se canse de ellos… The Drums actarán en España, en cualquier caso, esta misma semana: mañana mismo, día 9 en San Sebastián; el 12 en Madrid y el 13 en Barcelona. En su MySpace encontrarás más detalles.
“As opinion splitters go, it’s difficult to envisage another act causing as much of a divide in 2010 than Florida-cum-Brooklynites The Drums. While it could be argued that a lot of the hate has been born out of little more than the hype that’s followed them around since last year’s Summertime EP, there’s also a nagging suspicion that they’re in some way ‘fake’. Despite the band’s protestations that their main sources of inspiration come via a predominantly English underground scene stretching back to the mid-Eighties when Rough Trade, Creation and Sarah Records represented independent music in its most quintessential form, The Drums do have history in a former life, hence the cries of ‘heretics’ or worse. Indeed, while few if any could have predicted such a musical seachange between Elkland – vocalist Jonathan Pierce and guitarist Adam Kessler’s Killers-lite outfit from the first half of the past decade – and The Drums, only the most cynical soul would view such a departure as careerist. After all, The Wake, The Field Mice and Felt were hardly million selling household names back in the day, yet all three’s influence lingers throughout The Drums from start to finish.
It’s also worth noting that what was perceived as the elitist’s alternative 25 years ago – fey boys and pinafore dress adorning girls singing ramshackle love songs, mostly in desperation – has been replaced by what is widely perceived as the sound of a piano been thrown down a flight of stairs as the current favoured sound of the underground trendsetters. Add to that the fact that lyrically, The Drums aren’t exactly the most complex creatures when it comes to analytical wordplay (sample lyric: “I thought life would get easier/Instead its getting harder without you…”) and it’s easy to see why they’re not exactly getting everyone rejoicing their name in communal fashion from the highest rooftops.
Nevertheless, their strengths far outweigh any perceived weaknesses, and despite the odd trite lyrical observation, The Drums is undoubtedly the most rejuvenating, sprightliest guitar-based pop record released this year. Sure, there’s absolutely no doubt they wear their influences quite loudly on their sleeves; ‘I Need Fun In My Life’ and ‘Book Of Stories’ unashamedly recall both The Field Mice’s ‘Sensitive’ and ‘Song Six’ in both sound and structure, Kessler and fellow guitarist Jacob Graham’s delicate patterns weaving through both songs in a similar way to Bob Wratten and co.’s signature sound from yesteryear. Additionally, the wavering keyboards and unobtrusive drums so intricately featured on the likes of ‘Best Friend’ and ‘Forever And Ever Amen’ vividly echo The Wake’s faux New Order-isms, particularly on the latter’s ‘Carbrain’ or ‘Something Outside’. There’s also a dash of Orange Juice here, a smidgen of The Smiths there, and a healthy dose of Felt in between for good measure, ensuring that The Drums is possibly the most un-American sounding album created by a Stateside outfit in many a year, albeit for Pierce’s South Easterly drawl.
Its also worth noting that of the 12 songs which make up The Drums, only two appeared on the breakthrough Summertime EP, which more than hints at a band whose self-belief and confidence in their songwriting abilities is far from reticent. ‘Let’s Go Surfing’ brings Beach Boys schtick into the 21st century courtesy of its timeless melody and incessant riff, while ‘Down By The Water’ is their attempt at a Shangri-Las style heartbreaker, Pierce declaring in Morrissey fashion “If they stop loving you, I’ll stop loving you” like some downtrodden romantic.
Of the other ten pieces here, its fair to say that the musically upbeat and lyrically downbeat contrast makes for a surprisingly engaging listen, and even though it would be easy to label the likes of ‘Best Friend’ and ‘Book Of Stories’ as disposable pop, there’s as much here to keep going back to as there is with say ‘Sloop John B’ or ‘Ticket To Ride’, also dismissed as music designed to be forgotten about soon after yet still held as a barometer of such fare over forty years later. It would also be easy to say that The Drums are little more than this year’s fad, the annual style-over-substance tip dished out by the glossies every year while citing the likes of The Bravery and Joe Lean as other recent failures of a similar nature. Indeed, that accusation would probably be true were it not for the songs themselves. However, The Drums is packed full of tunes that even the most snobbish detractor couldn’t fail to bury their miserable preconceptions for half an hour or so and enjoy to the maximum. So, what are you waiting for…?” (drownedinsound.com)
Todavía no le hemos podido hincar el diente al disco de debut de The Drums (qué poco tiempo tenemos para degustar buena música!!) y circulan por internet multitud de remezclas de algunos de sus temas. Ésta en particular me ha encantado. Está realizada nada menos que por The Raveonettes, y como no podía ser de otra forma, el sonido de la banda se amplía hasta los twangs de guitarras característicos de los daneses y la distorsión más agria. Una versión más que especial que podéis descargar gratuitamente gracias a la gente de RCRDL-LBL.
“Jonathan and Jacob met each other at summer camp when they were children. they’ve been best friends ever since (except for a five year period when they hated each other). They’ve both had successful musical careers individually, but this is the first time they’ve sat down and written songs together. “We’ve always wanted to make music together, but distance and violence has always stopped us.”
“We’d been planning on starting a new band together for a while. Jon was living in New York and I was living in Florida. He said the music scene was better in NYC and I said the surfing was better down here so Jon moved to Florida and we started The Drums.”
“We just wanted to start a band that sounded like The Wake.” say The Drums, “We heard their song ‘Pale Spectre’ and went crazy! Maybe our music didn’t turn out sounding too much like The Wake but we’re really just like everybody else, chasing that perfect pop song. And that’s not so bad right?”
Not so bad indeed! The Drums have a sound that pulls together years of obvious influence by the Factory records sound and a sudden fascination with 50’s surf culture. A combination that maybe doesn’t seem logical, but when you hear it you’ll know you need it, you’ve gotta have it and it’s what has always been missing. Now The Drums are hard at work on their first record, which is bound to be an instant classic! (rcrdlbl.com)
“This seven-song debut from American band The Drums far transcends the hinderances of such quibbles as the tedious band name and unseasonally sunny thematics. Putting the ‘wave’ into new-wave, ‘Let’s Go Surfing’ combines whistle-along ’50s melodies with skeletal, minimalist production that’s a little reminiscent of Martin Hannett’s sound. In fact, at times this is a little bit like Vampire Weekend reimagined as a Factory Records band. The combination of frosted-over electronics with dislocated, waifish guitar melodies works a treat on songs like ‘Don’t Be A Jerk, Johnny’ and ‘Saddest Summer’ – the latter sounding a bit like a paradoxically cold, early-eighties take on Girls’ recent triumphs in euphoric pop classicism. There’s some real promise here, and Moshi Moshi might just have struck gold again with this lot; more or less any one of these songs would make a stellar single. Highly recommended” (boomkat.com)
“If you’re looking for some unseasonable sunshine in your life or need an emotional pick-me-up, then say hello to The Drums – The musical equivalent of a Californian New Order . This New York based group fuse the sunny sounds of American surf pop, and the tight percussive grooves of Factory Records -style post-punk, then add an occasional A-Ha -style synth stab or heavy 80’s snares to create irresistibly sunny pop music.
Summertime! is The Drums ‘ debut release, and it’s filled with songs about surfing, friends, love, and wholesome partying. It’s like Robert Smith on anti-depressants, or drinking Fanta . The perfect side dish to a sunset, a city bike ride” (wearehunted.com)