The Drums, 'Portamento' (Frenchkiss)

7
Portamento
Critical Mass
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Label: Frenchkiss

by Marc Hogan

With a foppish yodel and a jaunty guitar shuffle, this Brooklyn band's self-titled 2010 debut LP slotted easily alongside descendants of the Smiths and the Strokes. Maybe too easily. Guitarist Adam Kessler's exit makes room for a more overtly expansive approach on the Drums' just as solid sophomore outing, with chopped-up vocals, burbling synths, and cooing harmonies that should place them firmly in the sophisticated-yet-naive pop tradition of Saint Etienne or Swedish labels Service, Sincerely Yours, and Labrador. The Drums was as sunny as new romance, though; emotionally conflicted and at times misanthropic, Portamento is about finding out that only love can break your heart.

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