After listening to the same old much-loved summery albums on a continual loop (Friendly Fires, Vampire Weekend, etc.), we were glad to add this to our collection of Songs To Listen To When The Weather’s Hot. Here’s our take on this refreshing mix of indie, alternative and post-punk, courtesy of NY-based band The Drums.
1. Best Friend
The Drums waste no time with introductions – kicking off their eponymous debut with their hit ‘Best Friend’; one of their best-known songs which depicts a hypothetical situation in which Jacob (The Drums’ guitarist) dies and his best friend Jonny (lead singer of The Drums) misses him, but eventually feels he has to move on. Confused? We are too. Nonetheless, it’s a good song combining an upbeat melody with deeper, darker lyrics; something which The Drums seem to do very well (this becomes clear as the album progresses).
2. Me And The Moon
This is a great example of one of the Drums’ intriguing song titles- the track describes a cold, failing relationship as ‘is it me and you or is it me and the moon?’ The song strangely contains a section extremely similar to that of the single ‘Forever and Ever, Amen’ (track 6), but apart from that, it is a catchy tune in its own right, with the synthy instrumental section sounding very post-punk.
3. Let’s Go Surfing
This was the song which first introduced me (Felicity) to The Drums way back in 2010. Two years and several hundred plays later, I still love the song as much as the first time I heard it. Its feelgood chorus and distinctive whistle hook, alongside carelessly optimistic lyrics (“he’s going to make it all better”, “I wanna go surfing\ I don’t care about nothing”) and harmonised bridge, set this tune aside as a timeless summer anthem which will remain on our playlist for many summers to come.
4. Book Of Stories
This song is definitely more of a grower rather than one which is immediately a favourite. It isn’t one of our top tracks on this album, but fits in well with the overall sound of ‘The Drums’. The lyrics are very typical of the band, with the somewhat depressing chorus ‘I thought my life would get easier, instead it’s getting harder’, contrasting with the upbeat, catchy instrumental.
5. Skippin’ Town
Singer Jonny Pierce makes the most of his vocal range on this track, jumping from high to low and back again when singing the introductory “ooh ee oo ee oo-ooh”s which are recycled at various other intervals in the song. This is a track which definitely relies more on technicalities, such as vocals and instrumentals, than on lyrics – meaning that it is likely to stick in your mind very quickly.
6. Forever And Ever Amen
This is one of our favourite songs on the album- it’s just so happy and really stays in your head after you’ve listened to it. The positively sentimental lyrics ‘It’s forever, baby it’s forever’ make a change from the sadder, more downbeat lyrics of most of the album and the song just wants to cheer you up from beginning to end. If you’re only going to listen to one of the songs on this album, I (Isabella) would choose this one!
7. Down By The Water
It may be one of the more melancholy songs on the album, but Down By The Water is by no means a disappointment. The beat is a lot more apparent on this track, providing a slow, steady, defined rhythm to accompany the tuba sound and Jonny Pierce’s vocals. The result is a hauntingly romantic ballad which blurs the line between lullaby and love song (the Cure reference there wasn’t intentional, despite obvious similarities between the two bands which become clear on track 12 – The Future). This is a song which could make you smile, or send shivers up your spine, or possibly both.
8. It Will All End In Tears
Don’t be put off by the supposedly bleak title of this song- in true The Drums fashion, the track is not all you expect it to be at first glance. It is hard to call a ballad, as, despite it being about a dysfunctional relationship, the upbeat guitars and enthusiastic backing vocals make this track yet another of the band which easily gets stuck in your head.
9. We Tried
Another more sombre, heartfelt track from The Drums, showcasing once again that sad songs don’t have to be downbeat; We Tried continues to keep up the tempo, regardless of the fact that this is a break-up song. Here, Pierce describes his feelings of loneliness after the breakdown of a relationship – which he attempted to rekindle (“We tried\and we died”).
10. I Need Fun In My Life
The song certainly wins the award for best song title. It begins with lead vocalist Jonny Pierce singing ‘oh oh, oh oh’, along to the opening guitar instrumental- something he does in a lot of songs, but always seems to work. The playful, nonsensical lyrics ‘I need life in my fun fun fun’ are very easy to find yourself singing along with, and even if you’re not quite sure what they mean, they go well with this upbeat and toe-tapping album track.
11. I’ll Never Drop My Sword
Upon reading this song’s name, you might not know what to expect. Although this track certainly suits the style of the album and band, the lyrics are difficult to interpret and a lot of repetition is used – this isn’t particularly a stand-out track. The lyric “do you think that Jesus loves me?” is the band’s first reference to the theme of religion, which is a lot more prominent in The Drums’ sophomore album, Portamento.
12. The Future
I (Isabella) often think The Drums sound like The Cure, and this track is the one which I would say reminds me most of the gothic post-punk band. This is not a bad comparison at all- we both love The Cure, and it’s great to hear a band which has this sound to their music, as it is often hard to find at the moment. This track smoothly finishes off one of our favourite debut albums, and it is clear, from The Drums even better second album, Portamento (released in 2011) that they definitely do have a future.