The Drums – s/t

Rating: ★★★★ ·

The Drums have been on everyone’s radar for a little under a year now, but their star has continued to shine all the way up to the release of their self-titled album.  Their combination of surf guitar hooks and 80s electronic beats is destined to make this record the smash of the summer.  It might possibly be too sweet, but this is the kind of fun we should all have as we sit in our kiddie pools drinking beers with our friends this summer.

Opening with “Best Friend” you’ll find that bouncing groove of the bass moving you right into your first dance movement of the album.  Jonathan Pierce’s hip little croon will keep you swaying, just as it should.  It’s possible that this might not be the most artistic work, but there’s no denying that from the moment The Drums begins, it’s catchy as all get out.

First single from the group “Let’s Go Surfing” was one of our favorite Songs of 09, and it still has the same charm it did when we first heard it. Beach guitar sounds fused with whistling and a charming lyrics make it hard to ignore this song, and no matter how long you listen to it, it still has the kick you ask for in a great single.  Then you come into the beneficial “Book of Stories.”  While it retains the same surf-dance sensibility of early tracks, it definitely slows things down, turning the album in a different direction.  It’s pleasing to see such a variance here, as too much straight lo-fi pop might have put listeners in a sugar coma.  Similarly “Down by the Water” does the same thing, just a few songs later.  It provides a nice contradiction to the infectious pop moments, and Pierce’s voice rises high in the most charming way possible.  Personally, it gives The Drums more in common with bands like The Church rather than the surf version of New Order or The Smiths.

“Forever and Ever Amen” is accompanied by a killer video, and the swirling melody within this sound, despite a redundant bass line, really makes you swing your arms in pure ecstasy.  As the chorus goes “forever, baby its forever,” you feel as if you’re being sucked into some perfect John Hughes montage.  In fact, you can see the Breakfast Club dancing about the library here, at least in my mind, which is perfectly fitting.  It’s a reminder that the album is filled with a certain sense of innocence and frivolity that, when done in good taste, reaps marvelous rewards for listener and songwriter alike.

Time will surely tell how important The Drums self-titled debut actually is.  But, one thing is for sure right now: their intelligent pop tactics combining summer sounds with electronics is the perfect music for kicking off summer in the right way. This album is full of melody, hooks and just simple fun, and while that might not always be my cup of tea, it surely seems to be working with this record.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/02-lets-go-surfing.mp3]

Download: The Drums – Let’s Go Surfing [MP3]

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