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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 9 June 2010
My expectations of this album were admittedly very high after the excellent `Summertime!' EP from last year which at seven tracks was a mini-album in itself.

I thought more tracks from `Summertime!' would be included on this record but only two have made the cut (the excellent `Lets Go Surfing' and `Down By The Water'). How `I Felt Stupid' and `Submarine' didn't make it is a mystery of Lord Lucan proportions but all too often nowadays you've heard half the songs on a band's debut before it comes out so I guess The Drums should be applauded for that. It's just a shame anyone who didn't buy `Summertime!" won't get to hear those songs cos they are both belters.

I have to admit the new tracks (`Me and the Moon', `Skippin Town', `It Will All End In Tears') didn't grab me at first but have rewarded repeated listens now the hooks have revealed themselves. There are more immediate tracks like `Forever and Ever Amen' and `We Tried' but as other reviews have mentioned there is not a huge amount of variety and I do think the quality tails off with the last two tracks. Perhaps that's where `I Felt Stupid' and `Submarine' would have slotted in nicely or any of the remaining tracks on `Summertime!'.

I want to give this record 3.5 stars but Amazon won't let me so it's going to get 3 stars - a solid debut and if you like this band definitely get the `Summertime!' EP - that gets 5 stars !
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on 8 July 2010
What I like about indie music is its general indifference - I think it's supposed to be fun and simple and it's not supposed to care about anything much, so you can listen to it and let the songs make you feel happy or sad or whatever else - that's if they're quality songs anyway. But I think indie music tries too hard now; it's fallen into this paradox where all these bands have begun putting a lot of care into not caring, wearing carefully dirtied jackets and having messy but very obviously styled hair, and some of the time they force a kind of slurred, aimless way of talking that isn't great. The Drums aren't quite guilty of all that. After paying a bit of attention to them I get the feeling that they're actually heading towards the opposite end of the spectrum, in that they're trying to make it seem like they put more effort into their music than they actually do.

Their lead singer, Jonathan Pierce has claimed that the band finds importance in "melody, sincerity and truthfulness", but the album's opening track Best Friend is about the fictional death of fellow band-mate Jacob Pierce : "You're my best friend/ but then you died/ when I was 23 and you were 25". And then there's Let's Go Surfing: "Oh, mama/ I wanna go surfing/ Oh, mama/ I don't care about nothing". Especially since the band are admittedly not surfers, to me those lyrics pretty much encompass the kind of "who the hell cares" attitude I like in my indie music, and for the first half of the album at least that quirkiness keeps up the pace, from Best Friend to Forever and Ever Amen, and the melody is definitely there.

So the album holds some charm, even if that charm contradicts the way the band have talked about their music, and throughout its first half it carries a nice flow; the songs are up-tempo and catchy and they have subtle additions like the high-pitched backing vocals in Forever and Ever Amen's pre-chorus and the flute sound in Book of Stories, and I think subtleties like that can do a lot of make a song. But I keep mentioning the "first half", and that's because from Down by the Water onwards things aren't as good; the songs drop in tempo and there's a little more melancholy there, plus the songs just appear to dip in quality - the rhythm of each track is quite similar, so that starts to grind a bit too. So it seems like it could be two EPs stuck back-to-back, but maybe if they'd mixed the track list around differently it would have been more passable.

I've heard a few people complain about The Drums because "they seem false" or because "they're just trying to be The Smiths", but what has made the most sense to me was someone saying "I like `em. Bit of summer fun". And this album plays up to that, and under that context it's decent, but it could have been better if it's second half didn't bring it down, both in summer cheeriness and general quality. As a result of this there's a chance the album will just fade into obscurity with there being a lot of summertime music to choose from, but going back to what I said nearer the start, I believe the The Drums have some charisma hidden in their attitude towards what they do, so it wouldn't be a waste of time to give this album a listen, but also to keep an eye on them to see if they can put some clever indifference back into indie music, because music's no fun when it's too careful.
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VINE VOICEon 23 June 2010
Think poppy Cure, Smiths, Go Betweens, New Order and Bunnymen. But more plink-plink three note sweet than those bands. The Drums sound much like The Shins would if they did an early eighties indie disco tribute album. We're at track seven ('Down By Water') before the formulaic la-la-la stuff relents. Only 'Down' is a sugary lament with a pained vocal and a keyboard sound dredged up from an old Motors single. So that's not a big win. And then The Shins (sorry, Drums) are back doing the period indie thing. 'I'll Never Drop On My Sword' manages to organise the stock product in a more winning way. But for me one listen 'Cattle & Cane' by The Go Betweens will explain the difference between The Drums and greatness. What steals stars away isn't the sense of overdone revivalism (a good song is a good song, after all.) Too much formula writing and the cupcake sweet finish bit into my enjoyment of the album overall.
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on 25 December 2010
I picked up this album based on the strength of the single 'Let's Go Surfing'. On listening to the album through, i was astounded by how most of the songs seem to sound exactly the same. This isn't a genre thing, as some would argue, i've been a fan of this type of music for years. This band just seems lacking in creativity.

This isn't an abysmal album, but a bit of variety could have made it leap out more.

Download Let's Go Surfing. Leave the rest.
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on 21 October 2010
I actually think this album is more solidly entertaining than their earlier EP, which seems to be contrary to many opinions expressed here. Nice jingly tunes that are very reminiscent of the old C86 era. It doesn't push back any musical boundaries but it certainly provides a nice soundtrack whilst your frying bacon and eggs on a Sunday morning.
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on 9 June 2010
Ah you just have to love the bitter people who can't stand hyped up bands (as seen with the 1 star review).

The Summertime EP is probably a more consistent collection of songs but The Drums full debut is a fine listen. Nothing spectacular but as far as "summer" albums go this is a great listen.

If you hate all things 80s you'll most likely despise this but if you have a few 80s acts in your collection then prepare yourself to be pleasantly surprised. All the singles are tremendous tunes and the rest of the album is far from filler.

I had my mind made up after the SUmmertime EP that this would be an album that would be near the top in my favourites from 2010 and I havent been disappointed.
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on 18 July 2010
This is the best pop album you will hear this year. The Drums have edge - but a curious kind of blunt edge. They definitely have the x-factor, but appear too frail for world domination. So enjoy them while you can. The American Las - they don't sound like them, but will probably end up in the same 'where are hey now?' category. The planet's best-kept secret.
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on 5 April 2012
This album is amazing, I listen to it all the time it's just fab, buy it ok you need to have it in your life
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on 8 June 2010
I hadn't noticed this band until I came across the music video for "Forever and Ever, Amen" five days before this album was released. I started the video, thought it was pretty poor and then, about a minute in, I thought, "Actually, I'm wrong. This is good. In fact this might be very good". One viewing of the music video for "Best Friend" later and I ordered the album.

It's too easy to dismiss the lead singer as just another indie [rude word]. The unconventional dancing, the "bad" haircut and the short trousers scream out affectation. I don't know why, but for some reason I felt he might have something of substance going on. Also I read that he attended a Christian camp so the idea that he might not be just another hedonist on a mission to drink the bars of the world dry was very appealing.

Although a solid album, it is quite a bit samey sounding. The drum and bass rhythm section hammer away with little variation and the lyrics could all be from the one song, so fixed is the point of view and subject matter.

1. "Best Friend" 3:26 (8 out of 10 stars)
Very melodic and up-tempo with thoughtful lyrics.

2. "Me and The Moon" 3:12 (7 stars)
Some of the lyrics are hard to make out. Very New Order at the 2 minute point.

3. "Let's Go Surfing" 2:56 (7 stars)
Choppy rhythm on this more stripped down ghostly song. Has some nice whistling on it.

4. "Book of Stories" 3:38 (5 stars)
Mid-tempo by numbers song. Lyrics seem more meaningless than usual. Nothing about it stands out. Filler.

5. "Skippin' Town" 3:22 (5 stars)
Lyrics, if you can make them out, seem a bit sillier. Very indifferent and similar sounding to the previous song.

6. "Forever and Ever, Amen" 3:44 (8 stars)
The rhythm section is very repetitive. When it gets to the "chorus" sections it sounds great. An effective song with a nice melodic hint of shoegazer production (is that glassy keyboards in the background?).

7. "Down By the Water" 3:33 (7 stars)
Slow stripped down ballad. Although not great, it's less boring and contrived than these type of songs usually are (it helps that they don't seem like macho beery types).

8. "It Will All End In Tears" 3:44 (7 stars)
The percussion is very Joy Division. Also the vocals have an echoed metallic sound that reminds me of Iain Curtis on "Heart and Soul". Seems to be aiming for hurt and pained but I don't buy it when I compare it, as I must, with Joy Division. Lyrically too banal to match the doomy semi-Gothic sound they have achieved.

9. "We Tried" 3:45 (6 stars)
It's okay but unremarkable and indistinct.

10. "I Need Fun In My Life" 3:27 (6 stars)
Quite an atmospheric, fairly laid-back plod that's in no rush to get to its destination. An interesting change of pace on such an uptight record. A bit so-so but pleasant enough.

11. "I'll Never Drop My Sword" 3:43 (7 stars)
Another more laid-back mid-tempo track. A bit stronger than "I Need Fun In My Life" but no great shakes.

12. "The Future" 4:09 (5 stars)
Just more of the same musically and lyrically. An unimpressive track to end the album with.

I like to make EP playlists out of some albums on my iPod. Tracks 1, 3, 6 and 8 made the cut.

I have this curious feeling that I'm already done with this 43 minute album. The influences are maybe too clear and obvious, and rhythmically and lyrically repetitive to withstand too many listens. I like the album, but I think I would tire of it very quickly if I play it even slightly too much. It's more a work of promise for the future than the final destination itself.
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on 8 December 2011
I really haven't heard an album that made me want to listen to it repeatedly for hours and days on end. It really is one of the best albums I've heard, there isn't a dud track on it. I'd recommend it to everyone, whatever their musical tastes!!!!!!!!!
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