Album Review: The Drums – Encyclopedia

The band’s third album is acceptable but fails to push for brilliance


The Drums have been through some tough times over the past year or so, so I was intrigued to see whether this would worsen their music.

This album starts off slow. Not in a temporal way, but because it is mentally draining to listen to. The first song, ‘Magic Mountain’, is exciting for the first verse and chorus, but then descends in a blur of slightly flat singing, leaving you pondering the existentially puzzling question of what the magic mountain actually is. ‘I Can’t Pretend’ does no better, with lyrics like ‘Remember when you first touched my hand? We sparkled inside at the same time’ being delivered in such a monotonous, boring manner that it’s guaranteed to make you miserable.

However mundane the first section of the album is, the band pull it back with ‘Kiss Me Again’ – a fantastic song! This is possibly my favourite song by the band to date, which is saying something considering how much I loved the debut album. If they’d released it three months ago, it could’ve had charting potential as it’s so perfectly summery. Its simple lovesong theme and pace make it reminiscent of a Beach Boys song, yet it transports us back to the very essence of the Drums, the essence which made their first album such a cohesive whole.

The album continues in a way which leaves little impact. There are a few good songs, like ‘Face of God’ and ‘Deep in my Heart’ (despite the slightly odd lyrics), but I wouldn’t rush to see this album played live by any means. The cloying emotional lines which were endearing in songs like ‘Down By The Water’ from the first album become irritating in songs like ‘Let Me’ and ‘Break My Heart’, and it looks like Pierce’s lyric book was stolen by a thirteen-year-old girl. The album isn’t bad by any means, but it feels like the band are still reeling from losing Hanwick. The record sounds like they are holding on, sticking to a tried and tested sound, rather than thriving and pushing their music through a much-needed metamorphosis, except for ‘Bell Laboratories, where we get an exciting glimpse at where the band is headed.

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