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- Anatomy by Drugstore
9/10 Mike Staff review, 11 August 2011
This is the first thing I picked off the reviews pile, thinking "are these guys still going?", and remembering that ace Thom Yorke duet from years ago. As it happens they actually weren't still going for a while, having split in '02, and only got back together in '09 after seven years of personal turmoil followed by a triumphant sold-out reunion gig originally intended as a one-off. Buoyed by a gift of a guitar from a fan, their troubled front woman Isabel Monteiro set to work making something new. Quite an album this is, too. From the opening drawn-out Morricone-esque chords it's a minimal, spooked affair, with cautiously picked guitars and brushed drums backing Isabel's weather-beaten and heavily accented voice. There are still moments of lushness here, but overall this album is really intimate and timeless-sounding. It's really resonating with me, to be honest. It's equal parts defeated and hopeful, with a lot of the lyrics seemingly focusing on embracing the inevitability of change. I guess it kind of reminds me of Iron and Wine in a way - there's that same sense of restraint and the same feeling that you're there in the room with her as she's singing. A touch of Herman Dune's quieter stuff, too, and the confessional feel of Eels's better moments (particularly on the stunning 'Clouds') but none of these comparisons really do this record justice because ultimately Drugstore are a force unto themselves, and there's a brittle airiness to these songs that none of those aforementioned bands often achieve. Isabel describes this record as "painfully intimate, shamelessly simple, devastatingly sad". I'd agree on all three counts, but add "heartbreakingly brilliant" to that list. If you've ruined all your good break-up records on bad break-ups, here's one to keep to yourself. I like it.
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