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Summertime! by The Drums

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Reviewed on 14th October 2009.



By The Drums

What can be said about The Drums that hasn't been written already? The release of their new EP 'Summertime!' comes amidst a ton of hype, favourable write-ups and plenty of love from the press. Maybe surprisingly, one thing that can definitely be said is that the Brooklyn-by-way-of-Florida based band have absolutely lived up to expectations and delivered a joyously brilliant debut EP.

"Hang on a minute, it's flippin' October. They wait 'til NOW to release 'Summertime!?" you ask. Well, the EP may be named after the brightest of seasons, the hand claps and whistling may sound happy, but frontman Jonathan Pierce's lyrics reveal a darker depth with themes of love lost rather than summer romance.

Lead track 'Let's Go Surfing' bursts with pure sonic pleasure but much like the other tracks, the super-upbeat and cheerfulness is juxtaposed against darker, even nihilistic undertones: "Mama, I wanna go surfing / Oh mama, I don't care about nothing." The accompanying video, directed by David Fishel, was shot on a beach - but at night, which is a nice visual metaphor for these conflicting themes.

Personal favourite, 'Don't Be A Jerk, Johnny' goes a little further: "You used to be so pretty / But now you're just tragic," making it a bona fide bitter break-up song. The Drums have already (very quickly) perfected the art of masking tones of depression and sadness with energy and sweetness, an innocent charm and unbridled enthusiasm in their sound.  'Down By The Water' takes things down a notch, with a melodramatic use of 80s-style drums and synths for a hopelessly lovelorn chorus, but things perk up again right away in 'Saddest Summer,' a more new-wave sounding track with incredible urgency, hi-hats and processed claps.

Comparisons to The Beach Boys were bound to arise but what's really great about The Drums is that you could also compare them to The Strokes, The Cure and even Joy Division, meaning that this EP is perfect for both sunny and rainy days. The only thing wrong with 'Summertime!' is that it's not a full album. More, please.



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