The Drums
The Drums



by honeysuckle USER (5 Reviews)
July 8th, 2010 | 17 replies

Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "music’s no fun when it’s too careful"

What I like about indie music is its general indifference – I think it’s supposed to be fun and simple and it’s not supposed to care about anything much, so you can listen to it and let the songs make you feel happy or sad or whatever else – that’s if they’re quality songs anyway. But I think indie music tries too hard now; it’s fallen into this paradox where all these bands have begun putting a lot of care into not caring, wearing carefully dirtied jackets and having messy but very obviously styled hair, and some of the time they force a kind of slurred, aimless way of talking that isn’t great. The Drums aren’t quite guilty of all that. After paying a bit of attention to them I get the feeling that they’re actually heading towards the opposite end of the spectrum, in that they’re trying to make it seem like they put more effort into their music than they actually do.

Their lead singer, Jonathan Pierce has claimed that the band finds importance in “melody, sincerity and truthfulness”, but the album’s opening track Best Friend is about the fictional death of fellow band-mate Jacob Pierce : “You’re my best friend/ but then you died/ when I was 23 and you were 25”. And then there’s Let’s Go Surfing: “Oh, mama/ I wanna go surfing/ Oh, mama/ I don't care about nothing”. Especially since the band are admittedly not surfers, to me those lyrics pretty much encompass the kind of “who the hell cares” attitude I like in my indie music, and for the first half of the album at least that quirkiness keeps up the pace, from Best Friend to Forever and Ever Amen, and the melody is definitely there.

So the album holds some charm, even if that charm contradicts the way the band have talked about their music, and throughout its first half it carries a nice flow; the songs are up-tempo and catchy and they have subtle additions like the high-pitched backing vocals in Forever and Ever Amen’s pre-chorus and the flute sound in Book of Stories, and I think subtleties like that can do a lot of make a song. But I keep mentioning the “first half”, and that’s because from Down by the Water onwards things aren’t as good; the songs drop in tempo and there’s a little more melancholy there, plus the songs just appear to dip in quality – the rhythm of each track is quite similar, so that starts to grind a bit too. So it seems like it could be two EPs stuck back-to-back, but maybe if they’d mixed the track list around differently it would have been more passable.

I’ve heard a few people complain about The Drums because “they seem false” or because “they’re just trying to be The Smiths”, but what has made the most sense to me was someone saying “I like ‘em. Bit of summer fun”. And this album plays up to that, and under that context it’s decent, but it could have been better if it’s second half didn’t bring it down, both in summer cheeriness and general quality. As a result of this there’s a chance the album will just fade into obscurity with there being a lot of summertime music to choose from, but going back to what I said nearer the start, I believe the The Drums have some charisma hidden in their attitude towards what they do, so it wouldn’t be a waste of time to give this album a listen, but also to keep an eye on them to see if they can put some clever indifference back into indie music, because music’s no fun when it’s too careful.

user ratings (127)

Comments:Add a Comment 
Contributing Reviewer
July 8th 2010


Album Rating: 3.0

Good first review. I pretty much agree with the rating, I think its just a pretty average indie record thats not worth most of the hype thats surrounded it.

July 8th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

bitch please.

good review regardless though.

July 8th 2010


seriously? A band named The Drums? How original.

Hey gaiz I'm gonna start a band and name it The Guitarz.

Nah I'm just being a dick, good review but I won't be checking this out

July 8th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

yeah it's a crap band name.

you could be right, maybe they don't quite deliver. i'll see how it feels after a few more listens.

July 9th 2010


Album Rating: 4.5

Honestly, don't agree with this review.

October 25th 2010


Well I suppose some like indie music and some don't. I don't mind the best of it at all. 'Rock' of course is meant to sound more pretentious, more doomladen. I can listen to that sometimes too, but you know what reviewer sometimes people actually like to be entertained and just feel happy. Nothing wrong with that at all imo. This sounds a solid album, maybe 3.5. This is definitely above average. I don't care what the band's image is, just about the music. Similarly I don't care what they are called.

November 11th 2010


Review is a little rough to read however I agree that it is good for a first and I like (and agree with) the descriptions of the album and the band as a whole. I think I can POS this... we even gave it the same score.

Digging: Free - Fire and Water

December 29th 2010


Album is pretty meh, but fuck "Let's Go Surfing" is really awesome.

December 29th 2010


It's not really that good, but at least they are trying and it's a start. Hopefully they can move on and develop their sound more. I still don't think that the band's image or their name is of any importance, the music really is all that matters.

January 1st 2011


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

this interview is so hipster it hurts

January 17th 2011


Album Rating: 3.0

this album is cute. pretty typical hit or miss first album. the good songs (Let's Go Surfing, The Future, It Will All End In Tears) are amazing though. so much jonathan richman and morrissey here, i think their next album will be a little more refined and better. I Felt Stupid is still their best song though

July 27th 2011


Let's Go Surfing doesn't have any surfing in the video, haha.

Digging: Freddie Gibbs - ESGN

July 27th 2011



August 30th 2011


used to like these guys, but this has worn very thin

Contributing Reviewer
August 30th 2011


Album Rating: 3.0

I actually enjoy their new album more than this one.

The general concensus among reviewers seems to be that it's inferior, though.

September 20th 2011


Album Rating: 3.5

this is rlly cool. dunno what the new ones like

September 28th 2011


Let's Go Surfing is seriously one of the catchiest, best fuckin' singles I've heard in a long, long time. It's like Beach Boys and Dick Dale channeled through a modern indie rock style. I could listen to this song for days straight.

I love all of these young bands incorporating surf music into their style now. Shit like this, Surfer Blood, Wavves, etc. Can't get enough of it.

Digging: Touche Amore - Touche Amore

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