The Drums – Brutalism review

Secret Meeting score: 60

by Philip Moss

Since their emergence in 2009, things have changed dramatically in The Drums camp. So much so that the once four piece has become Jonny Pierce’s solo project; now he now takes on all songwriting responsibilities, and it’s fair to say it’s with mixed outcomes.

Body Chemistry – the album’s synth heavy lead single – summarises this. Melodically, it’s a whirlwind and has more than enough to send you grabbing for the ‘air gladioli’ and performing your best Morrissey impression. But, unlike Moz, it’s lyrically where it falls down – and lines such as ‘With some good luck and a good fuck, a nice glass of wine and some quality time’ are as cringe on the ears as they are on the eyes!

This is a theme that continues throughout – Pierce’s ear for pop phrasing is exceptional, and this really is a record packed full of fine choruses. But his wordsmithery most certainly does not meet his earwormery. In fact, 626 Bedford Avenue feels like your peering into Pierce’s teen diary. While Brutalism’s Vampire Weekend evoking melody is not equated to by the throwaway lyricism – ‘Baby, by now you must know that this love is brutal – be unphysical, supernatural, irrational… this is dangerous, we’re delirious, but oh this is glorious!’

For those who approach Brutalism expecting the West Coast surf homages that were found in the early part of their career, then the electro-pop found here will be a pleasant surprise – it’s just a shame the tunes aren’t met with the words to fully do them justice.

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