The Entry was jam-packed with giddy hipsters on an unseasonably warm fall night on Wednesday, all waiting for the jangly and darkly effervescent tunes of the Brooklyn-based New Wave outfit The Drums. It was refreshing to see that the band—made up of guys who look like they would wear ironic letterman jackets and ask for the William Reid when they get their hair cut—were seemingly able to float above all the initial hype that surrounded their 2010 album The Drums, and took the stage with a likeable “we’re a working band” kind of attitude. They proceeded to whip out a fast-paced 45-minute set of facile and winsome renditions of songs taken from their debut album as well as their very recent release Portamento, which manages to be a weaker album overall as compared to their first but still features some of the band’s very best work.
The uptempo nature of almost every song allowed barely enough time for the audience to process that the poppy surf-tinged tunes they were so joyfully and spastically dancing to actually possessed a mournful undercurrent. This was made emphatically clear in frontman Johnathan Pierce’s introduction to the second song of the night when he stated simply, “This song is about my best friend, who died.” They kept on with the slightly eerie tone, performing long-suffering-wife-theme tune “If He Likes It Let Him Do It,” which sounds like a song that The Killers might have written if they had never made an appearance on The O.C. If The Drums were already operating at a high eight, then they turned it up to at least a 10.5 (insert Spinal Tap joke here) for their big hit single “Money,” a high-pitched clap-along toe-tapper that has Pierce lamenting, “So before we die, let me do something nice/ I want to buy you something but I don’t have any money.”
The highlight of the night for me was “Book of Revelation” (much of the album’s lyrics deal with Pierce’s rejection of the religious tradition in which he was raised). Fhe fitting opening track from Portamento—and only song I cared to immediately listen to twice when I was test-driving the album—features an awesome bouncy guitar lick and once again, hand claps. I’m a big sucker for hand claps.
The Drums announced that their main set closer “Down By the Water” would be in tribute to Steve Jobs, whose death was announced mere hours before the show. It was just the right amount of respect and reverence and I imagine similar offerings were being made at gigs across the country that night. The assuring lullaby of a song made for a lovely memorial and showcased the range and appeal of this band, both of which are vast and, even with the sophomore clump chatter, show no signs of depleting any time soon.
What You Were
Me and the Moon
If He Likes It Let Him Do It
Book of Stories
I Need Fun In My Life
I Need A Doctor
Book of Revelation
Forever and Ever Amen
How It Ended
Down By The Water * Steve Jobs tribute
Baby, That’s Not The Point
It Will All End In Tears
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