By: Brad Horenstein (Right-Hear.com)
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Rock n’ roll has made a big move to the beach over the past year or so. Whether the bands responsible for this have dipped real deep into the vintage basket, like the ’60s infused beach pop of WAVVES and BEACH FOSSILS, or whether they’ve gone a little shallower, like the sometimes ’80s-tinged breezy rock of SURFER BLOOD, the presence of THE BEACH BOYS influence on the genre is undeniable. It’s everywhere. But the feel of the beach is perhaps no more obvious than in the compositions of Brooklyn rockers, THE DRUMS, whose sound is reminiscent of ’80s pop, but comes off as distinctly coasty, as if a ’60s beach party got hold of a synthesizer from a time machine.
THE DRUMS have been on a tear as of late, generating an obscene amount of buzz following the release of their debut, self-titled EP this summer, subsequently selling out every show on their latest European tour. They haven’t even played a proper show in the United States in months. And they don’t even have a full-length album to their name. Boasting super catchy guitar grooves, drum lines, vocal melodies and harmonies, indie fans have fallen hard for THE DRUMS. Even their biggest hit to date, “Let’s Go Surfing,” doesn’t do much to hide the fact that this is a band taking music back to the beach. “Let’s Go Surfing” is an infectious pop song with hints of deep electro synth tones bouncing around with a bass line that’ll burn a hole in your face, and an over-and-over chorus that sticks to your ribs. It’s also got one of the more recognizable whistles in years.
The other standout track from the LP, “I Felt Stupid,” sounds a bit more ’80s, incorporating more synth noise than “Let’s Go Surfing.” Still, the track offers the distinct jangly, dueling guitar lines so often found in the beach pop acts of the 1960s. And on “Down by the Water,” a track that’s more subdued than the rest, the guitar line is so so ’60s, but lead singer Jonathan Pierce’s vocals can’t shake that ’80s emotion. As long as Pierce sings, THE DRUMS will remain a sort of hybrid ’60s beach band with an ’80s feel. And it doesn’t hurt that these guys exude as much sass and character in their live act and their videos as their songs project. Pierce is as enigmatic a front man as you’re likely to find, and he’s got “rock star” written all over him. Expect big things from THE DRUMS as they look toward releasing their first full-length album at some point this summer. And catch them if they ever come back to the states.