The Drums

Out to make a bang

Nationality: US

Genre: Indie new wave


Drums are one of a number of American indie bands of late to have the UK more to thank for their emergence.  And America should thank us for that. They look like a bunch of teenagers that stumbled across a set of instruments and a load of old eighties records by Joy Division, The Smiths, The Zombies, The Cure and Orange Juice and thought they’d have a bash at replicating that sound. And they found they could, with lashings of reverb and pulsating bass riffs to boot, and also touches of electronica that hark back to Pierce’s previous band Elkland. As put by frontman Jonathan Pierce, famous in Spain because of his similarity in looks to Real Madrid’s Guti, with so much manufactured pop around these days, they wanted to record songs that people could feel they could have recorded themselves.

They write decent tunes. Money, Book of Revelation, Forever and Ever, What We Had, Let’s Go Surfing, How It Ended and Down By the Water, to pick out just three, are fine tracks that demonstrate their versatility and ability to replicate the cheery dreariness of early eighties alternative lyrics. Not one of their songs doesn’t get your foot tapping at the first listen, and the choruses are as catchier than chicken pox. And there’s no need to worry about their capabilities of pulling it off live – they can. And with much slicker polish than some more established names we could mention.

In fact that’s where they’re strongest. Their self-titled debut album was not the most slickly produced of efforts, but it was enough for NME to single them out as their hottest tip for 2010. The Drums’ reputation was sealed. Anybody who wanted to sound clever about music just had to say that they thought The Drums were the next best thing and their street-cred was guaranteed, even if they’d never really heard a single song by them.

Their self-titled debut album went to number 16 in the charts, and although none of the singles hit the Top 40, their fan base has grown ever since. And it turns out NME was right for once. They ARE a good band. Jonathan Pierce’s nasal voice harks back to the eighties when vocalists could get their point across by singing rather than shouting – and is it just me who’s noticed that he sings in an English accent?

The Drums clearly want to strike while the iron’s hot. Their second album, Portamento, which they are currently promoting, shows maturity and is clearly far more professionally produced, and even so it was somewhat rushed off the presses in order to strike while the iron was hot.

If they can hold this together, something Pierce himself is not always too hopeful of due to the divergent musical directions each of the members wants them to head in, then this could be one of the biggest names of the next few years. The thought of The Drums one day playing this stuff in front of packed football stadiums chills the spine. And maybe one day they will.

Did you know: The song Let’s Go Surfing was used in an advert for Volkswagen.


Friday June 2, 2012 Barcelona Primavera Sound


1.  What You Were

2.  Best Friend

3.  Me And The Moon

4.  Money

5.  Forever And Ever Amen

6.  Days

7.  Let’s Go Surfing

8.  Down By The Water

9.  The Future


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