Published on May 8th, 2019

The Drums by Nicholas Moore

Last time we checked in on The Drums, we flailed at making cheeky rhythm-related quips to open with, and truth be told this time around it’s not much different. However, a lot has changed and while we threw around “bombastic” and the idea of marching to a different … well, you get it; this time we’ll go with the anticlimactic sound the snare makes as the stick rips through it in the middle of a live set.

Generally, that’s a bad thing, but in Jonathan Pierce’s case, that’s probably the best thing that can happen. As sole caretaker of the band’s moniker, and after enduring the pains and pressures of being lauded by the press and fans, Pierce can now take comfort in being the disrupter of his own destiny. He’s the stick ripping through the snare, he’s the awkward sound it makes and only he knows where it’s going next.

Brutalism,” the fifth album as The Drums, is a departure from 2017’s “Abysmal Thoughts.” The pure pop of that venture followed the band’s evolutionary growth and was informed by depression, divorce and the exit of longtime collaborator Jacob Graham. While the album was surprisingly more upbeat than its title would suggest, it is in this record that Pierce sounds like he’s finally let it all go.

The music is more pop-driven yet succumbs to droning passages that he consciously refuses to rescue with infectious hooks. His vocals give the impression that he might actually be enjoying himself, even as fans might find the record jarring with its inclusion of cranked up Casio-tones and unedited lyrical content.

But the reality of this album is artistic, cathartic release. Pierce hasn’t gotten to five for shits and giggles or to satisfy a record label debt. No, this is more than likely a blueprint for the next one. Will his fans like it? Who knows. Will it make for a memorable live experience? You bet. But only with a sixth album will we know how well Pierce has made use of this record and tour. Let’s not forget a snare’s head can be replaced and tuned quickly.

The Drums with Tanukichan play 7pm May 17 at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale. ~ Abel Folgar

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