Indie band The Drums will be playing in South Africa on 16 November in Joburg and 17 November, 2012, in Cape Town, as part of the adidas Originals Live Performance Series.
Emerging from Brooklyn via Florida in 2009, The Drums initially caught the ear of the indie world with their "Summertime!" EP. It was an escapist collection of beach pop fantasies; tracks suffused with a wistful longing nostalgia that never pandered to cheap sentimentality. Their rise, particularly in the UK, was meteoric. Early buzz led to a prestigious spot on the BBC Sound of 2010 shortlist, followed in short succession by a slot on the Shockwaves NME Tour in 2009, and the publication's Phillip Hall Radar Award in early 2010, well before the album's release that summer.
Their eponymous debut LP, released in June 2012, was bifurcated into a first half dedicated to more upbeat pop songs, and a second half revealing a darker, more introspective side of the band.
For the often difficult sophomore LP, the band sidestepped the pitfalls of a slump by recording it quickly, again self-producing, often laying down tracks spontaneously in singer Jonny Pierce's kitchen. Following the departure of guitarist Adam Kessler, drummer Connor Hanwick switched to guitar, and guitarist Jacob Graham picked up his more natural instrument: synthesisers.
Tugging at the boundaries of their sound
Titled "Portamento", the new album, released just 14 months after their debut, reveals a band tugging lightly at the boundaries of their sound while still retaining their recognisable sonic signatures - sweet rushes of melody, winsome lyrics, and brittle synthesiser sheens colliding with wiry Spector-esque guitar and bass lines.
Pierce explained: "(In) the first EP there was this air of innocence. We were obsessed with vintage Americana sort of things. There were personal moments on the first album and EP, but it was very idea driven and conceptual. We wanted it to be cinematic; a scene from a movie, if you will. Now that's gone. The new album, it's like every song is a scene from real life. I think from beginning to end it's sort of autobiographical for me. I was able to be alone for a lot of this, and really write about myself. This new album touches on everything from my extreme religious roots to transgenderism to violence and, of course, there's plenty of heartbreak stuff, which I couldn't get away from even if I tried."
To accommodate the sonic expansiveness of the record, the band have swelled to a five-piece live act, augmented by two auxiliary members, including Myles Matheny of Violens and Papercranes on guitar and bass. They've also eliminated the backing tracks used for the bulk of their shows to date, thus lending their performances a more visceral, spontaneous feel, in line with the aesthetic of the album.
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