The Drums – Portamento (Moshi Moshi/Island)

August 23, 2011 by  

New York indie-poppers The Drums burst into our consciousness last year with their self-titled debut full-length. Now, they return to flex their musical muscles with their sophomore album Portamento.

Opening track Book of Revelation would have been perfectly at home on their previous album. Brandishing their now familiar stamp of indie pop with Pierce?s saccharine vocals providing a blissed-out bodily high. This is Let?s Go Surfing, torpedo guitar pop at its best and if you can resist joining in with the chants of ?Oh let it begin, let in begin, let it begin? then you have more willpower than I do.

In fact, the opener pretty much sets the tone for the whole album. This book reads like a guide titled: How Guitar Pop Should Be Done. Punchy clap-a-long drum beat? Check. Massive sing-a-long chorus? Check. Sugar-sweet vocals? Check. Kitchen sink clich?s? Well, that is one box that proudly remains un-ticked. Portamento is simple, unadulterated indie-pop presented in a fresh and exciting way. Think the polar opposite of Scouting For Girls.

The majestic Money possesses an irrepressible bounce that will have heads-a-bopping and feat-a-tapping in households and festivals everywhere. The squeaky pop-tilted vocals sing ?I want to buy you something, but I don?t have any money, I don?t have any money? a heavy message that everyone can relate to disguised by a chirpy melodic coo.

Hard to Love and I Don?t Know How To Love present more of the same. The album could be accused of sounding a little bit samey in places but at the same time the tracks remain different enough to stay interesting.

It is on the second half of the album where things get really interesting. If He Likes It Let Him Do It and In The Cold show a side to The Drums away from the radio friendly pop. If you were expecting a bold transition or an exploration of some new territory then here it is. The edigly driven, chiming guitar tones and howling vocals present an altogether darker picture with the Brooklyn quintet loosing themselves somewhere between light and dark.

Portamento is essentially The Drums self-titled part two. While the sound remains familiar enough for exisiting fans to warm their toes in they also show signs or growing and developing as a band.