The Drums: Brutalism (ANTI-) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Tuesday, July 7th, 2020  

The Drums

Brutalism

ANTI-

May 13, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


In 2017, The Drums released Abysmal Thoughts. It was the New York outfit's fourth full-length, but the first since the band had become a solo project for main-man Jonny Pierce. Inspired by a divorce and a stint living alone in Los Angeles, there was a very tangible loneliness to its songs. Two years on, this follow-up still has hints of that melancholy—especially in the spritely yet sad shimmer of the title track—but there's more of a defiance weaved into the fabric of the songs themselves. Partly, that's due to the electronics that make up the foundation of these songs, infusing the likes of "Body Chemistry" and "Loner" with a jittery, energetic undercurrent that's somewhat at odds with Pierce's rather somber, philosophical lyrics. It's a new, more modern sound for The Drums—one that serves to stir heartstrings while also being a reminder that the pain and heartache always fades—and which ebbs and flows with a soft and soothing psychedelic edge. Just listen to the slow, almost '60s-esque ballad "I Wanna Go Back," which swims—or, perhaps more aptly, floats—on a current of wistful nostalgia, or the gentle tones of "My Jasp," which is a lilting acoustic ditty replete with Brian Wilson-esque harmonies. It's a marvelously honest moment, where all is stripped away to reveal Pierce's pure vulnerability.

Closing track "Blip of Joy" is slightly more layered and busy, but conveys that same sense of fragility, albeit with occasional rushes of, if not quite joy, then at least contentment. It's an album that certainly stands apart as something different to what's come before, though interestingly, as the record progresses it sounds more and more like Pierce is settling into himself as a musician. The two exceptions are opening track "Pretty Cloud" and "Kiss It Away," both of which feel just somewhat out of place on what is an otherwise cohesive, calming, and beautifully forlorn record. (www.thedrums.com)

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