The Drums

Published on November 9th, 2017

The Drums

It’s hard to forego any kind of bombastic and percussive line when talking about The Drums; even something as cheeky and obvious as saying that front man Jonathan Pierce has finally found the perfect beat to march under. Well, failing to find something cheekier, the fact is that Pierce really is doing the majority of the marching: For the fourth effort of The Drums, “Abysmal Thoughts,” he’s well over 90% of the beating heart giving the machine life.

Hailing out of Brooklyn with stylistic layovers in Central Florida and spiritual beginnings in the early friendship and partnership of Pierce and Jacob Graham, who officially left the band earlier this year, The Drums continue to inject personal tonal touches into their growing catalogue of surf-inspired indie rock via British post-punk and New Wave synth.

Their nine-year ride has not been without interpersonal skirmishes, of which Graham’s exit might be the most amicable, as Pierce currently trains his energies on a hired cast of touring musicians who follow his cues. Four albums in, one would expect the refocusing to cause a sharp rift in sound, but Abysmal Thoughts falls nicely into the evolutionary pace set by 2014’s “Encyclopedia,” which found the band experimenting with far fewer restrictions.

Whether the break-up freed Pierce to pursue his own vision for the album or to just continue an ascension charted by previous iterations of The Drums is hard to tell; either scenario makes sense for the progress on display on Abysmal Thoughts.” It’s a work of pure pop, miles away from any “abyss” the title might suggest, syrupy in the celestial glow of its surrealist notions and airy dreams.

Perhaps this is all the end result of Pierce’s psychological development as a musician who, though long at the helm of The Drums, can now sit in the relative comfort and calm of the captain’s chair. Where he takes it next will be telling. For now, for the 50 minutes it lasts, Pierce does well on his own. Maybe we should’ve skipped drumming quips and examined how the lead single, “Blood Under My Belt,” sets the perfect stage for this album to shine on.

The Drums perform w. Hoops December 1 at Gramps in Wynwood ~ Abel Folgar

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