Do you have any idea how long I’ve been waiting for a band like The Drums? A band that reliably churns out honest-to-goodness guitar pop songs – all of them more infectious than a Mexican pig with a sneezing fit – while still somehow managing to put their own unique sheen on things. Their first EP ‘Summertime!’ (with an exclamation mark) is the sound of low-budget sparky post-punk band covering classic surf-pop bands. The band don’t over-indulge and try to make the music speak for itself, only adding minor embellishments. The songs themselves are all near perfect stuck-in-your-head-for-days ripe-for-awful-adverts songs but they resist being commercial – maybe partly due to the fact that it sounds like it was recorded in a small aircraft hangar, giving it a slightly (intentionally?) smoggy feel. The songs fall into three categories: the “I love and/or miss my friends and/or you” file, the “our love is boring” file and finally the age-old “let’s have a good time” file, and even that sounds fresher in The Drums’ hands. The first is catered for by songs like the affectionate ‘I Felt Stupid’; the second is spearheaded by the wonderful and deceptively cheerful ‘Saddest Summer’, while the main culprit in the “good time” file is the opener ‘Let’s Go Surfing’, which reinvents the beach song for the insomnia-n-cider generation and is as perfect an early-morning celebratory pop song as you could ever ask for.
Though catchiness is a luxury in good music, as opposed to an essential, ‘Summertime!’ seems to treat it is a necessity and does it brilliantly over and over again without sacrificing substance. Jonathan Pierce’s vocals encapsulate teenage naiveté with that slight touch of heart-sinking disillusionment lingering in the background. No song is less than great; whether the band will continue to write stripped-back guitar pop as well as this a second time is a tough job, but I think they’re up to it.
Key Track: Let’s Go Surfing
Play this: over and over again with a close friend; you’ll be singing lyrics at each other for the rest of the year.