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Drowners Eponymous Debut Album Reviewed

Drowners wanna be your boyfriend, please don’t hurt them

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drowners, if not Drowners, is a major disappointment and that’s not to say it is a bad album, but that with a gaping hole where the Strokes, and dozens of other leather clad, cute pop rocking children of the late 1980s though with a lot less on their mind, needed to be filled, Drowners didn’t fill it.

When I saw em last October at Pianos (reviewed here), I liked em didn’t love him; they were a cheeky loud fast melodic blast and if they weren’t the second coming of Savages (who had the same spot in 2012) but the soings were a little weak. I mean if you are going to update Is This It? you need the songs to pull it off. They come close, “Buttons On Your Blouse”, “Watch You Change” and “You’ve Got It Wrong” circle the centrifugal force of sexy LES bad boys as though Julian was singing with a fake English accent. But they never hit the heights of the Strokes best moments: there is nothing on Drowners as undeniable as “Last Night”.

This is an album where you spend your time waiting for something to happen, waiting for the songs to breakthrough for the hooks to slam through. They are are there, you can hear em on “Long Hair”, it should be getting to you. It is there waiting to run away with you and it just doesn’t happen: the power of the songs are resistant to the tug and the desire. They are on Frenchkiss Records, the guys who gave you the Hold Steady, and you can certainly see why, Drowners are a good looking band and they have an attitude that is pure rock, and Matt Hitt -well, I don’t believe a word of his lack of lay songs. At 25, a model, and the leader of a rock band (who are pretty good looking themselves), I am sure he has trouble walking in the morning.

So maybe, between subject matter and a sort of ringing chronic generic sound, it doesn’t click the way you want it to, the way you expect it to. Drowners aren’t exciting enough on record; the songs don’t heat em and the hooks lack immediacy. Between the two problems and  the album, at a swift 13 songs in 30 minutes and still dragging, Drowners are the one thing they absolute can not be. They are boring. Not terrible boring, I like the album well enough, maybe four really good songs out of 13, tight as fuck. But I don’t fet all the self effacement and I don’t see why it isn’t louder, harder and faster.

I certainly hope a world tour and a sophomore album will sort them out. In theory, this should be one of the great breakthrough albums of 2014 and it is a real pity it didn’t happen.

Grade: B

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