Rating: ★★★★½ 

With a named derived from the first Suede single and a sound somewhat akin to the bastard spawn of The Strokes and The Libertines, not to mention their recent tarring with the “britpop revival” brush, you would be forgiven for thinking that indie-pop four-piece Drowners were from London. As it happens, however (with the exception of frontman Matt Hitt – who hails from South Wales) all the members of the band are from the States, New York to be exact. Something hardly surprising when you hear Hitt’s occasional Casablancas vocals, or clock the CBGB leather jackets.

Their debut EP, released February last year, was met with generally positive reviews, allowing the band to go from strength to strength, supporting the likes of The Vaccines and Skaters to name but two. And with a schedule such as theirs, it’s any wonder they found the time to pen their debut album, but find it they did.

Drowners is an album which revels in it’s own various influences; from the jangly Marr-esque guitar work on tracks like ‘Let Me Finish’ to the Doherty-inspired vocals on ‘Watch You Change’, Drowners are a band who sway, not towards the laddish side of their chosen genre, but to a level of emotional candour rarely exhibited by an indie band, something we can no doubt attribute to Hitt’s love of The Smiths. 

A particular highlight comes at the half way point in the form of ‘Unzip Your Harrington’ and one can’t help but wonder whether this is Hitt toying with the indie-androgyny or just atypical point of view. Slower than other tracks featured, there’s a lot in common with some of the more melodic Vaccines tracks and one that you can imagine played out against the backdrop of the many festival stages the band will inevitably grace this year and in to next. 

With so many bands emerging at the moment, all of whom vying for your attention, you might ask yourself why you should listen to band whose sound you’ve probably had your fill of over the last ten or so years, but the answer is simple. With fusing together so many nostalgic influences, Drowners come across as completely contemporary, if not completely original. Their blending of different aspects and aesthetics from varying eras has afforded them a timeless sound that drips with a boyish charm and a youthful energy, constantly hiding the fact that they’re a group of incredibly competent musicians with an understanding not only of the genre itself, but also the culture that goes along with it. 

Dave Beech

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