For the fourth Drums record, frontman (and now only remaining member of the original lineup) Jonathan Pierce jumped ship from New York to LA and teamed up with engineer Jonathan Schenke. The results of the move and some big life changes is an enjoyable yet emotional guitar-pop album.
Abysmal Thoughts is dense yet pleasantly less chaotic than its predecessor Encylopaedia. Jangling guitars, washes of vocals, retro synth overtones and surf-rock rhythms are all intricately layered. Opening track ‘Mirror’ is an immediate start, warming up to a sonic richness that defines the best moments of the record. Songs of heartbreak and loneliness mesh with more optimistic stories such as the sunnier ‘I’ll Fight For Your Life’ and the punchy ‘Your Tenderness’. There is the same simplistic frankness that made their debut record so special, and something I have been searching for with that same potency since. Abysmal Thoughts comes close.
The tempo is upbeat, at points even straight up groovy, all whilst tapping into Pierce’s signature self-deprecation and vulnerability. ‘Head of the Horse’ is a dreamy retreat, balancing out the pace and ensuring things don’t get lost in the sauce. Another take on the slow-build is ‘If All We Share’. However, the deliberate tweeness doesn’t translate, making it a low point. The title track atones. It is a fast-paced circular track laced with interesting knocks and clangs and a full-bodied guitar backbone. The lyrics, whilst simple, convey the reigning pathos of the record with conviction. Whilst not a huge divergence from their past, there is still plenty of gorgeous noise and an abundance of feelings to get lost in here. Give yourself time to explore Abysmal Thoughts.