Label: Universal / Island
Release date: 2011-09-05
If the weight of expectation and hype lumped onto ultra-cool Brookynites The Drums prior to their self-titled debut was quantified, I doubt there would be a butcher's scale in the land which wouldn't go through the floor.
The NME were leading the hype assault - all over the 'new wave of the new wave' indie starlets like a cheap suit, yet just like that aforementioned formal attire, nothing quite seemed to fit.
After catching them supporting Florence & the Machine in front of a hyper-ventilating crowd packed full of hen dos and Saturday night revellers at the Hammersmith Apollo, it was difficult to see entirely what all the fuss was about. Sure they had a cute ear for a melody, a Smiths-esque lick and a natty line in pastel apparel, but there was a distinct lack of substance.
Alas, predictably, the record didn't perform as expected in many quarters so frontman Jonathan Pierce and co retreated to the studio to lick wounds that were not of their making. After reportedly almost splitting in June, the quintet return with their sophomore offering, Portamento, and it's certainly a decent effort. Blending the melancholy and gothic edge of The Cure and Joy Division with a cluster of Johnny Marr-like whip-tight guitar riffs, it's a pleasant listen.
Opener 'Book of Revelation' and 'Money' both bristle with youthful exuberance without completely bowling you over, while 'I Don't Know How to Love' dances along on a bouncy bassline and yearning vocal delivery.
Despite being overly long at 12 tracks, closer 'How It Ended' is filled with teen heartbreak and hope and is perhaps the album highlight.
Where The Drums go from here is anyone's guess - let's hope they get to bang their own drum at their own pace this time rather than foam-mouthered music hacks desperate to jump on the bandwagon of the next big thing doing it for them.