Since The Drums first crossed our paths last August (here) their floppy fringes, camp angular posturing, incessantly hooky tunes and thin mix of early 80’s references - The Smiths, Orange Juice, and early Cure - have elevated them to gracing the cover of the NME and a high positioning on the BBC Sound of 2010 list. It’s been a rapid ascent for the New York bands fey whiny indie pop.
How much further this climb can continue following the recent release of their debut album is questionable. Whilst every song on The Drums by The Drums has an abundance of low-rent pop catchiness and innocent harmonies, over the course of a full length the limited scope of creativity and lack of muscular vigour means that The Drums becomes a soulless experience. Each song on its own right is accessible and radio friendly, but by three quarters of the way through any initial lure the record had is lost. The Drums have served up a collection of songs that will satisfy many a modern day NME reader in the same way that Darwin Deez does - their sound is fun, lightweight and easily accessible - but underlying this there is no big ideal or intricacy that will endear.
The template for The Drums can be heard from the very first song Best Friend. Bouncy Peter Hook styled bass, simplistic twangy jangly picked guitars, muffled drums and Jonathan Pierce’s vocal making all manner of “Ah-ah,” and “Oh-oh,” sounds. With the exception of the downbeat prom-queen ballad Down By The Water there’s little variation - not necessarily a bad thing if there’s something to maintain high levels of addiction, but here there isn’t. There’s a tendency for The Drums songs to sound formulaic, centred around one simple vocal hook. Compared to some of the reference points mentioned earlier Pierce’s song writing certainly has a long way to go to form something more lasting.
With their 50’s college boy looks and ability to bash out something undeniably infectious, their short term is assured, but The Drums are going to need more than this if they want to maintain their current flavour of the month status.