The Drums shows off a twisted sense of romance on Portamento
Indie-rock groupies, beware: judging by the lyrical evidence on Portamento, the Drums’ sophomore LP, frontman Jonathan Pierce has a seriously twisted view of romance. The singer has a penchant for writing chillingly morbid love songs, and no amount of peppy new-wave beats and sun-kissed pop melodies can stop this album from being a creepy listen.
On the soaring opener, “Book of Revelation”, Pierce uses the certainty of death as an opportunity to plead for sex, as he croons, “I believe that when we die, we die/So let me love you tonight.” His death-obsessed outlook turns violent on “Money”, as a snaky bass groove provides an eerie backdrop for the singer’s portrait of domestic strife: “You hit me yesterday/Because I made you cry/So before we die I’d like to do something nice.” Most unsettling of all is “I Need a Doctor”, a reverb-hazed track that would be downright blissful were it not for the threatening admission “You know I love you/But I want to kill you.”
And the list goes on. Luckily, it’s easy to forgive these troubling sentiments, thanks to the Drums’ knack for infectious pop hooks. The standout “Days” is striking in its simplicity, with a minimal guitar-and-percussion arrangement that allows the wordless falsetto harmonies to shine. Such tracks will help the band retain its buzz-worthy reputation, even if Pierce probably won’t earn many dates in the process.