Friday, November 25, 2011

Review catch up: The Drums - Portamento

There is a real danger in reading music reviews online (ironic much?) because it's pretty easy to dismiss a record after reading a few bad things that google spit out at you. I know this because I read a bunch of them (what's up with the Guradian music reviews these days?) about this album but they seem to be misplaced. The Drums have received largely negative reviews for this record and this criticism seems to be based on Portamento being a much more melancholy record than their debut. As I've only heard the singles from the first record that critical baggage doesn't exist for me and in it's absence, this sounds like a pretty tight and enjoyable album to me. It's not without flaws as it is probably too samey in places and a bit twee for its own good but if sad lyrics are a problem it might be a good idea to burn all your Smiths and early Cure records. Oh my lord, sad music - how we ever survive?

I purposely mention these bands because there is something of Morrissey's melancholy misxed with the wirey bass driven sounds of the first two Cure records to the Drums sound. To me, that's not a bad mix and songs like Money, I Don't Know How To Love and If He Likes It Let Him Do It exemplify what was great about 80's English indie music. That being said, it never feels like revisionism or plagiarism, the Drums have their own sound and vibe but there is something unrelentingly 'British' about them so if that's not your cup of chai, look elsewhere. This is a small record about heartbreak and betrayal but it is a good one if you're in the mood.


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