Album review: The Drums’ ‘Abysmal Thoughts’ finds Jonny Pierce going it alone

Ian Caramanzana

Three stars

The Drums Abysmal Thoughts

It’s been a hell of a decade for Jonny Pierce. As the principal songwriter for The Drums, he, childhood friend Jacob Graham and two others seamlessly fused The Beach Boys’ intertwining harmonies with The Smiths’ upbeat, jangly sensibilities—propelling the band to indie-darling status and earning a spot on the festival circuit. The Drums seemed poised for continued success. Four albums in, however, Pierce seemingly finds himself at rock bottom after a bad personal breakup and the splintering of his band. Enter new album Abysmal Thoughts. Pierce wrote and recorded The Drums’ latest effort himself, and it’s quite the cathartic LP, though Pierce’s catharsis manifests itself in the poppy, upbeat soundscapes that harken back to the band’s early days. “Under the Ice” is a flurry of swift, reverb-drenched guitar pop a la 2009 single “Let’s Go Surfing,” while the harmonizing “oohs” during the chorus of album opener “Mirror” are surprisingly catchy for a song about the end of a relationship. When it comes to vocals, Pierce has altered the timbre, coming off more

Robert Smith than Morrissey, especially over the airy, layered picking of “Head of the Horse.” Abysmal Thoughts should appeal to fans of both the new and old Drums.

Tags: Music, Album
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