It’s been two years now since we have been graced with an album from The Drums, the last of which was 2012’s dark and more developed Portamento. In that time they have gone through a few changes, the most significant being the loss of guitarist Connor Hanwick, leaving The Drums as a duo. With only founding members Johnny Pierce and Jacob Graham remaining, the Brooklyn band has offered us an album free of the restraints of their signature indie-pop sound.
Big themes and topics are dealt with; love, identity and even religion – The Drums have grown up.
The album may come as a shock to devotees of their first release the Summertime! EP and debut album. Encyclopedia indicates a swerve in the direction of their sound as they turn away from the dreamy guitar-based pop many fell in love with during the early days of The Drums existence. Focus is instead placed on the electronic element we heard glimpses of on Portamento. Encyclopedia presented itself as an opportunity for them to further explore the synthesizer, a much beloved instrument of Jacob Pierce.
This fact is made clear with the opening song and first single ‘Magic Mountain’, which can only be described as a deranged chaos. It’s an assortment of unusual electronic textures accompanied by singer Pierce shrieking the chorus “Inside my magic mountain, we don’t have to be with them.” According to the band, it was a song borne out of “frustration”. Within the madness, however there is definitely something of substance and The Drums haven’t lost their ability to write the type of choruses that will refuse to leave you for days after.
Encyclopedia indicates a swerve in the direction of their sound as they turn away from the dreamy guitar-based pop many fell in love with during the early days of The Drums existence
‘Kiss Me Again’ is a slice of light-heartedness and is almost reminiscent of the their earlier material, nonetheless with a melancholy undertone in the lyrics. A serious tone is taken for the very topical ‘Let Me’, a track dealing with the oppression experienced by homosexuals in Russia. The lyrics are strongly supportive for those oppressed; “They might hate you, but I love you”. Outspoken singer Jonny Pierce, who is open about his homosexuality, has vocalised his intention to provide “comfort” to listeners. It’s fair to say they’ve managed to achieve that with this song.
Big themes and topics are dealt with; love, identity and even religion – The Drums have grown up. We feel also the pervasive sense that they are finally comfortable in their own skin and there is a resulting honesty in the song writing. Overall a more complete effort, on the journey of a hopefully long career from one of the more interesting bands around.
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