Portamento is The Drums’ brand new album following the triumph of their last which featured the infamous hit single ‘Let’s Go Surfing’. It has been a year since we have heard from The Drums so this album has been long awaited by fans and music critics alike. Their sound, especially on the last album, is very surf and very buoyant. These individual characteristics lead to their last album being extremely successful, selling over 200,000 copies globally and a chart position in the UK of 16.
You’d have thought that The Drums would have been a lot more adventurous when creating their second album Portamento, however they have stayed rather between the audacious lines and firmly on the ground with their new album, so expect pretty much everything you have already heard before. Out of all the twelve tracks, not one song shows a significant element of risk and I don’t think that they have not ventured out into a particularly strong sense of versatility. As much as I loved the first album, I am afraid to say that I am a little bit disappointed in the lack of ‘out of the box ideas’ in this risk free disaster which is Portamento.
Nevertheless, the album begins with the song ‘Book of Revelation’ which is embedded with philosophical lyrics and religious beliefs, “I’ve seen the world and there is no heaven and there is no hell”. ‘Money’ is by far my most favoured track as it demonstrates the use of heavier bass riffs and Jonathan Pierce’s beautiful Morrissey-esque voice. Synths are also used a lot more in this album which shows that they have tried to be daring, but only to a certain degree, this can be heard in songs such as ‘Hard to Love’ and ‘Searching for Heaven’.
The first couple of songs at the beginning of the album Portamento are fantastic however there is a definite change in tone towards the end of the album. This possibly reflects the definition of the album title itself, Portamento meaning ‘a smooth glide from one note to another’. This is a great proposal, but not so great when you are expecting a phenomenal finale and receive a huge anticlimax.
In retrospect, I think that there are definitely some great songs in this new album. It was never going to be easy for The Drums to lose their ‘beachy’ identity and Portamento portrays much ambiguity about how they need to break free.
Released on 5th September 2011 by Universal/Island