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Album Review: The Drums – ‘Portamento’

★ 

‘Portamento’ is The Drums’ first studio album after the release of self-titled debut album in 2010. No doubt that ‘Portamento’ is completely different to that of their first release. The album begins with the catchy song, ‘Book of Revelations’ and the rhythmic bass and the background harmonies are toe-tappingly addictive. As you delve deeper within the album, the theme seems to be one of self-loathing and cynicism. Other critics seem to despise the fact that The Drums have such a downbeat theme when they were expecting 60’s style peace and love in this album. Personally, I think these critics are completely wrong. Part of the reason art and music exist is so artists can express the fears of reality, deeper concepts that cannot be expressed in normal terms.

The album itself is filled with a lot more memorable hooks and choruses, especially ‘Money’, one of the first singles released from the album. And what a good decision it was! Although some would argue the rest of the album becomes dreary and repetitive, ‘Money’ stands out from the crowd. It’s great guitar and bass melody re-enforce the Morrissey-like vocals of frontman Jonathan Pierce. Another great breakthrough song from the album is ‘I Need a Doctor’. The great uplifting, bouncy melody and lyrics give a great sense of a decent into madness and simply re-enforces once again the meaning of the whole song.

However, The Drums’ major downfall on this album was the lack of meaning in lyrics. Lyrics such as “you hit me yesterday, and you made me cry”, lack poetic structure and underlying meaning that all the great songs have. Yes, this is part of the attraction to the band,  but if they want to gain a wider audience, better lyrics are the way to go. Come to think of it, most of the songs on this album are filled with extended oohs and aahs as opposed to actual lyrics but maybe that’s just their appeal in the first place.
Overall, this album is a very good album, but when listening to it, I feel as if there is a void that can only be filled with the joyous merriment of the band’s previous album. This, and various other reasons provided, is why I have awarded it 4/5 stars.

Music Bloggery Recommends: ‘Days’, ‘Money’, ‘Hard To Love’, ‘I Need a Doctor’ and ‘How It Ended’.

 

One thought on “Album Review: The Drums – ‘Portamento’”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Its not as good as the first album which was brilliant. The best track on Portamento is the last one How It Ended, fab harmonies and great simple lyrics.
    Apparently Portamento is meant to be their anti religion album (hence spooky crucifix cover) but i agree often the lyrics are so simplistic faux naieve, that could be about anything (or nothing). But sometimes that simplicity works really well (How it ended) or on first album Book of Stories (my fave Drums song) but sometimes it just sounds dumb (like on Money)
    If you like The Drums try Orange Juice (the best band in the world!!!)

    C McG

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