Brooklyn's surfiest indie pop band, The Drums, have been away for three years, but they're back with third record 'Encyclopedia', which was of course recorded at a summery lakeside cabin. Despite being known for making straightforward and catchy pop, Jacob Graham has excitedly described 'Encyclopedia' as "interesting and bizzare", though the duo retain their affection for jangly guitar riffs and slacker drums. The record is also the band's first without guitarist Connor Hanwick, who quit while touring 'Portamento'.
Tracks:Magic Mountain I Can’t Pretend I Hope Time Doesn’t Change Him Kiss Me Again Let Me Break My Heart Face of God US National Park Deep In My Heart Bell Labs There is Nothing Left Wild Geese
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- Encyclopedia by The Drums
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No-one likes change or a progression these days do they? Bands are just best off repeating the formula ad nauseum to the point that if a lot of listeners had their way, Talk Talk would still sound like Duran Duran. So its pleasing that The Drums have decided to do something different with their new record. Gone is the C86 surfy jangle & drum machine pop. In is a more polished electronic sound, slightly harsher and darker a bit like The Cure on uppers. But has it been successful? I’ll get back to you on that in a minute.
First up I do like the opening track and single ‘Magic Mountain’, it has something of the Pixies off-kilter wierdness and is an absolute bag of nerves. Follow up single ‘I Can’t Pretend’ (notable how the singles are stacked at the beginning of the record) is slower, more brooding a mixture of fizzing synths and 80’s guitar hooks. Works better on the album as it does as a standalone single and there’s something of China Crisis is its plaintive 80’s pop. Any warning signs first flutter on ‘I Hope Time Doesn’t Change Him’ which is a soppy 80’s ballad with bells on. Better is ‘Kiss Me Again’ with something of their earlier surfy sound still intact, certainly I can hear the B52’s in the twang and strum. Its very catchy but I’m starting to wonder if fans of the older stuff might be feeling a bit dissilusioned by now.
I’ve seen some pretty scathing reviews of this record - I’m not sure its as bad as all that. Its too slow in places - they are much better blasting along at breakneck speed without worrying about the consequences and when they marry this to a decent tune as on ‘Face of God’ they come up with something quite thrilling and very dark goth pop 80’s style. The album certainly has its moments but at 48 minutes it seems a bit over-long with too many skippable tracks.
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