Johnny Pierce has been the man behind the majority of The Drums work, his effervescent personality and bubbly delivery is what first brought the band to the attention of the masses and promised a revolutionary happiness for us all to revel in. But times change and so do bands.
With this being the first project taken on by Pierce as a solo record under The Drums moniker the happy bounce of previous work has fallen by the wayside and what we have left is a tightly coiled spring of vulnerability.
There’s no doubting this is a ‘Drums record’ all the touch points still have Pierce’s surf wax finger prints pressed upon them from the very first riff of ‘Mirror’. But, there is a definitive feeling of difference permeating every note of the album as it continues to marry the past with the possibility of a scary future. The songs still have the surf rhythm which drew our ears to the band in the first place but it feels more sparse, more deliberately experimental, and because of this contrary nature, the album as a body of work, feels a little confused.
Saying that however, there are some more than notable moments within it. ‘I’ll Fight For Your Life’ is, in particular, as near to a perfect surf-pop song as you are likely to hear. With a lead line that could drive all the rats out of Ireland complimented by Pierce’s reverb drenched vocals (which, in truth never falter throughout). ‘Are U Fucked’ is the darker side of Pierce, as the vocalist takes us through a dark and unsettling feeling of semi-permanent drug dependency. Together showing the two themes flowing through the album.
On one hand we have Pierce trying to give the fans what they desire – a taste of The Drums, a taste of 2008 and all the hope it brought with it, a taste of something that will never grace our lips again. And on the other hand we have Pierce; the damaged artist, trying to convey his message of solitary vulnerability in a modern age more concerned with projected imagery than with true identity. It leads to a slighty confused but ultimately enjoyable (take a breath…) reverb driven surf-pop album with a mountain of sadness shadowing every sunny valley.
If you were one of the staunchest The Drums fans, this album may disappoint in places as it goes to darker points than that band could’ve imagined, but if you’re new to the groove you’ll find plenty of enjoyment in this album.