Bombay Bicycle Club’s bassist Ed Nash recently claimed that due to a wave of ‘bad indie bands’ after Arctic Monkeys, there was a backlash resulting in fewer indie bands on the radio or headlining festivals. We won’t argue, seeing as 2007 brought us the likes of The Pigeon Detectives, Jack Peñate and Reverend and the Makers. However, after seven years of fallout, has the dust finally settled? Are we back to the days of real, inspired, promising bands? In the case of Drowners, yes, no and maybe.
Firstly let’s explain who Drowners are. They’re a New York quartet comprising of bass, drums and two guitars interweaving throughout each indie injection. They’re also named after Suede’s debut single. Unfortunately, that’s all there is to say because much like their bio there isn’t a great deal to Drowners.
Their self-titled debut album clocks in at just under 30 minutes, with only one track surpassing the 3-minute mark. Many of the 12 tracks are rooted in a high tempo buzz that sees a constant bass thump layered with multiple guitar plucks/strums. To compare them to The Strokes would be an obvious choice, with ‘Ways to Phrase a Rejection’ and ‘A Button on your Blouse’ oozing bop inducing delight. With this in mind, here is a band that many indie fans will appreciate. They don’t involve much thought and you can dance to your hearts content to their music. However, it’s this lack of thought that makes Drowners a bit of a let down. Their music is aiming for a place in a TV advert when it should be ripping up clubs as hundreds of sweaty teens lose a gallon of H2O to a good dance.
On the flipside to the 11 high-tempo songs they’ve collected, there is only one song that follows a slower progression (‘Unzip Your Harrington’), similar to San Francisco band Girls. It’s a song that plods along and just seems to act as a break for the middle of the album. It seems a shame the album isn’t more varied but as already mentioned, if you’re a fan of indie music, this won’t deter you from enjoying this record.
With a name that promised a meal of dirty grunge, but instead gave us a light indie starter, you could understand many feeling aggrieved by this lack of spark. However, although the band lacks quantity and quality (except in production), there will always be a fan base for this and hopefully that’s enough to give Drowners time to find their sound and come back with something more substantial next time around.