Drowners – On Desire
On Desire (Review)
When I first moved to New York, my go to subway jam was “Luv, Don’t Hold Me Down” by Welsh-American rock band “Drowners”. It’s the perfect song to describe a night out in the city, strolling at midnight through the dive bars of East Village or hitting up the thrift shops and record stores of Williamsburg. Their debut album “Drowners”, released in 2014, features their 2013 EP “Between Us Girls” (including the three songs “Long Hair”, “You’ve Got It All Wrong”, and “(A) Shell Across the Tongue” and shares the theme of an upbeat pilgrimage through NYC.
A few months ago, the band announced the release of their second album “On Desire” (June 24) along with new single “Cruel Ways”. Somehow, listening to this in the cafeteria basement of my college after a kind-of-break-up was the perfect way to experience the song, which nails the topic of a failed relationship with compelling lyrics and an angsty electric guitar solo. With lead singer Matt Hitt’s earnest, bold but yet calming vocals, “Cruel Ways” is everything indie-rock lovers have been hoping for since “Strangeways, Here We Come” (The Smiths) was released nearly three decades ago. And the rest of the album is just as impressive.
Unlike the first album, which carries a “get-the-girl”, optimistic attitude, “On Desire” faces the harsh realities of love and relationships while maintaining the intense and exciting mix of drums and guitar that trigger the irresistible urge to dance. Every song from “Troublemaker” to “Don’t Be Like That” produces electric harmonies that narrate the demise of a destructive relationship.
“Human Remains” and “Someone Else is Getting In” have both enticing lyrics and instrumentals that make you want to party and cry at the same time. “Dreams Don’t Count” – my absolute favorite – provides exactly what the title entails: a dream-like lullaby expressing one unfortunate truth: it’s so easy to create identities for the people we grow fond of, and ruining that image is comparable to crushing a good dream.
Recently released, “Conversations With Myself”, carries a playful beat with apathetic lyrics and an unbelievable electric guitar solo. This transitions into the haunting “Trust the Tension”.“Another Go” – another one of my favorites – is definitely the most suitable song to jam to in a good mood (though the lyrics aren’t as uplifting).
The last two gems “Pick Up the Pace”, which mirrors the instrumentals of 80s pop, and “Don’t Be Like That”, the somber end to what I once deemed “The Greatest Album of All Time”.
Drowners are incapable of getting it wrong. Amazing lyrics, a captivating beat, and Matt Hitt’s stunning voice create rock perfection. Props to Erik Lee Snyder (guitar) , Jack Ridley (guitar), Joe Brodie (drums), and Matt Hitt (guitar) for the sick instrumentals. A band with this much talent and promise rolls through once every blue moon. We must cherish them.
That said, “On Desire” is definitely my go-to album of the summer. The whole of the album will be released on June 24 along with a performance at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn, NY.