The Drawers - Parlor Noise
The Drawers are a dedicated three piece who play (at least according to their header on distributor CDBaby.com) "the dark side of surf rock." This quirky sound is equal parts U2, White Stripes, and maybe a tad of Pink Floyd or the Rolling Stones. The hallmarks of the Drawers sound are a mixture of crisp, airy shoegazing (ala lighter U2) and spacey, rhythm-centered, simplistic groove of the variety that propelled the White Stripes to the top of the charts.
"Autozoom" finds the band launching into a swinging instrumental that feels joyous and excited. The weird "Frozen Oil" is a combination of ringing notes, soft strums, and a thick bassline. The song switches into an oddly sinister post-punk overdrive replete with a jangling guitar solo. "Make Death Count" is a wispy garage stomper that the band has rightly picked as one of their favorites (their press release calls it "a future modern rock radio hit"). Catchy as a cold in the dead of the winter, the soft rock on offer here could indeed find a solid slot on the airwaves. "Higher Mind" is mellow beyond belief, and for some reason reminded me of the Dandy Warhols sans keyboards. "Nurse Your Dead" tromps into your skull on march-worthy drum beats and a sinister guitar effect straight from a horror movie. Launching into a jumpy post-punk rocker, the song is one of the tightest on the disc and is in my opinion one of the best. "Dear Earthlings" is a curveball of a song; this trippy space age ballad would probably not be far removed from the ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead spectrum of post-rock. I like this song a lot. "Manic Defense" is a faster slice of rock that I could see a Cars influence band playing in a packed club somewhere. "Controller Brains" seems destined to someday rule the college radio broadcasts. The funky "One Foot" lets the band stretch themselves into a jittery, oft-kilter tune I'd like to hear more of. "Where the Sea-Lanes Lead" is a billowing tune that owes much to airy pop like say Sigur Ros; all-in-all, nice chilling music. "The Bayonets" is a rumbling, ominous piece of instrumental shoegazing. The last song, "Room for the Nerd" is lush, gentle post-rock that didn't do too much me; it's a tad bland.
I know I've pointed out most of the songs have a deep, sensual, and often technical groove, in some cases being wholly instrumental. In spite of this, the Drawers managed to impress me with some lyrics every bit as off-kilter as their music. Dark and vague, there's plenty for word-geeks to immerse themselves in here. "The Bayonets" may (or every bit as equally may not) be clever satire against the blossoming "the bands" movement; on others, like "Where the Sea-Lanes Lead," the song takes an almost nihilistic stance that is dreamy and grim on the same time. The best musings though are often the most nonsensical; in "Higer Minds" Ducket wishes that 'if only the Earth had just one head/chop it off with a hatchet/oh yeah.' On another song ("Controller Brains")
he croons about how one can 'never send a duck to do a rabbit's job.' Granted, on paper none of this makes any sense, but that's all part of the fun. So whimsical do these words run, listeners can interpret them a billion different times. At other times, the songs take on nightmarishly lucid clarity, the kind that anyone anywhere can undoubtedly relate to. Blessed with the gift of gab, the Drawers strangle it with their random, ambiguous rants, making an eclectic Molotov cocktail of message and meaning.
The Drawers are seemingly shooting for the right mixture of quirk and mainstream appeal, and on Parlor Noise they seem to walk the divide with relative ease. There are enough surprises to throw even the most jaded of modern rock fans off, yet the songs never get ambitious enough to alienate people just looking for a catchy tune. In fact, the songs are almost divided equally between the two camps. Coincidence, I think not. Regardless, Parlor Noise is a CD that manages to achieve three very disparate goals; one can dance, thing, and chill out to the music it contains. It's decent, but I have a feeling that this band hasn't hit their peak yet, and eventually I can see them leaning towards one end of the spectrum a little more. In a way, the fact that the Drawers can play catchy, solid rock as well as lush, intricate instrumentals and soft, cloudy ballads is a testament to both their influences and talent. Looking for diversity? Try Parlor Noise on for size.
The Drawer's Parlor Noise
2. Frozen Oil
3. Make Death Count
4. Higher Mind
5. Nurse Your Dead
6. Dear Earthlings
7. Manic Defence
8. Controller Brains
9. One Foot
10. Where the Sea-Lanes Lead
11. The Bayonets
12. Room for the Nerd
Preview and Purchase This CD Online
The official website of the Drawers is located at www.thedrawers.net. It has biographies, pictures, song samples, and some very amusing, stream-of-thought rants by Christopher Duckett. Check it out!
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