Drugdealer

Raw Honey

Mexican Summer

May 28, 2019 Web Exclusive
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Psychedelic-pop auteur Michael Collins, also known as Drugdealer, is proficient in a language of languorous pop music that is bubbly enough to sound lighthearted and playful, but aesthetically cohesive and self-serious enough to the point of legitimate art. Working with Weyes Blood, Ariel Pink, and members of Mac DeMarco's band on his underrated 2016 album The End of Comedy, Collins surrounded himself with the best minds of Los Angeles psych-pop—this bleeds through to his latest album, Raw Honey.

But where The End of the Comedy was a patchwork of scattered, breezy songs that could easily be about love, death, or anything in between (with The End of the Comedy it was the sounds that mattered), Raw Honey is focused, leaner, less prone to experimental cliché, and the songwriting has generally improved. One of Collins' former guests, Weyes Blood, makes a return on the glistening "Honey," a standout moment on Raw Honey; we also find contributions from Dougie Poole on the graceful country burner "Wild Motion," as well as Harley Hill-Richmond on "Lonely."

Most impressive here though is Collins attention to subtle, almost tedious influences—clearly his appetite for dusty '60s pop singles reflects his control as a creator, constantly devouring those influences and then crafting something impressionistic but still unique to Collins idiosyncrasies. Like Ariel Pink, the hypnagogic element to each single flutters and breathes—you've definitely heard that melody some time, somewhere.  

However, where Collins differs from his artsy, soft-pop cohorts such as Ariel Pink or Foxygen is the straightforwardness of each song found within Raw Honey—pulling influence from the breezier side of The Beatles on songs such as "Lost in My Dream," the Elephant 6 Collective's general fetishization of late '60s psychedelic-pop, and watered-down yacht rock impressions ("Fools"). Collins pulls no punches on Raw Honey, delivering a remarkably refreshing take on bubbling soft rock, a gentle, meandering slice of summer time. (www.drugdealerband.bandcamp.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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