By Ché Salgado
Album: On Desire
Released: June 24, 2016
Drowners: post-punk for people who call Cage the Elephant their “favorite indie band”, post-punk for people who consider Souvlaki the best shoegaze record because Loveless is “too noisy, you can’t hear the words”, post-punk for people who like the idea of listening to “post-punk” more than they like listening to post-punk. The best move that Drowners have is being affable enough to make you think that you like their record, your ears are on autopilot, there’s no engagement to be had here, it’s so affable and bland that you don’t even realize it’s all the same song, so bland that the NME would name it record of the year. “It” of course being the latest Drowners record On Desire, a record which commits the most basic of all music sins: not being able to justify the space it takes up.
That’s not to say the record doesn’t have moments: it has a nice single in “Someone Else Is Getting In” and at times, Welsh-born frontman Matthew Hitt has some slick lyrical moments (guess that’s where that degree in English comes in) but that’s about the only positive(?) attribute you can give On Desire, “slick”, this music is gilded, not solid. And it wouldn’t be so frustrating if Drowners were a band that took a chance on a sound that was uniquely theirs and came up short. If that were the case it’d be a whole different story but it’s not. Drowners is comprised of equal parts Jet, Kasabian, Arctic Monkeys, and the metaphysical concept of “indie”, and they sound like it as well. The distorted bass from “Another Go” might as well be a tone preset based off Kasabian’s “Shoot the Runner”, the skirt-chasing subject matter (present on every song on this album) could easily have been thought up by Nic Cester, frontman of a aforementioned music joke, Jet. “Dreams Don’t Count” is like a demo version of Arctic Monkey’s “No. 1 Party Anthem” and, most painfully, the only other apparently passable song on the record “Pick Up The Pace” is ruined when you realized the drum beat is the exact same as the track before it and the nice synth line it’s got is basically a reworking of the same thing found on “Conversations With Myself”. On Desire is a failure in about every facet there is, a failure in song-writing, a failure in creativity, even a failure in sequencing, the record is as bland as it’s cover and I look forward to seeing it on the NME’s “Best of: 2016” list.