On your marks, get set... Here come The Drums! The race is literally on to Brooklyn record shop, Sound Fix, where the band’s exclusive pre-released EP Summertime! is in stock. Or is it? After several attempts to catch a copy before it flew off the shelves, I got lucky and arrived shortly after a new shipment.
The Drums play a mix of 50's surf rock, electro, and post punk; it's upbeat and more importantly carefree in the midst of our downtrodden times. The six track EP is a beach party romp; progressive as it is satisfying in its simple anthems and slightly haunting ballads. Summertime! captivates all the way through with its earnest cheekiness and genre bending. The opening cut, "Saddest Summer", bounces from start to finish advising listeners, "If you got a boyfriend, go kiss him" and at the same time weaves a cotton candy tale of ill-conceived summer love. The sound of a fireworks display lingers behind with an airy synth melody that sets the stage for the outstanding production artistry present in the remaining five songs. The throbbing base lead that follows in "Let's Go Surfing" could have been ripped from a Jan and Dean album, or the mind of Dick Dale. Not unlike Dale's surf classic "Miserlou" the line leads the mind straight into the crashing tide. Yet it's not the mimicking of recognizable sonic motif that make The Drums stand out from the pack, it's the deft layering of these styles and the manipulations of the best genres pop has to offer that elevates the band and this EP in particular. "Down By the Water" is a definite standout as it's the darkest of the tracks and the closest approximation of a true ballad. Musically sparse with a focus on heavily syncopated percussion, and the passion of the vocal Down by the Water reminds of the 23rd hour of a 24 hour dance-a-thon, or a the last dance of a forgotten prom night.
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