Wrote this review for wmua about The Drums new album.
Album Review: The Drums –– Encyclopedia
It’s been a little over three years since Brooklyn-based The Drums released their sophomore effort, Portamento (2011). Fans have waited with bated breath, especially after considerable gossip of the band nearing their end following the release of lead singer Jonny Pierce’s solo album. Fear not, for their new album, Encyclopedia, will open your ears to a newfound darker––if not erratic––side of The Drums.
The duo, comprised of multi-instrumentalists Jonny Pierce and Jacob Graham, pull from their many talents to provide a vast spectrum of sounds for their new record. Opener “Magic Mountain” comes like a bat out of hell and arguably sets the tone for much of the album to come. Here, Pierce’s howling vocals are a far cry from his usual cadence, which on previous albums was more akin to a mash up of Morrissey and Robert Smith. Now, especially on tracks like “Break My Heart,” his vocals are comparable to that of the highs and lows of MGMT’s Andrew Vanwyngarden.
Alternating between chaotic synthesized numbers and melodic trances, Graham and Pierce are able to transition between up-tempo tracks like “Face of God” and dream pop numbers like “U.S. National Park” with ease. These switches in their time signature make for an interesting and engaging listen.
While still keeping in line with their reverb-drenched signature sound, The Drums have now also indulged in their virtuoso roots to make the sound of Encyclopedia more full and captivating. This is showcased perfectly in “Deep In My Heart,” which has a trendy, ’90s-esque feel to it, complete with lovelorn lyrics and pleading vocals.
Form the turmoil that occurred following founding member Connor Hanwick’s departure after Portamento was released, there was sustained tension between Pierce and Graham. Not knowing if The Drums would ever come back from their unannounced hiatus, it’s safe to say that Encyclopedia is their cathartic release from this tumultuous lapse.
-Tracy Troisi, WMUA 91.1
Image: “Encyclopedia” (SPIN)
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