Drinks // Hermits on Holiday
Recommended Track(s): Hermits On Holiday
Imagine this: a collaboration between White Fence main man Tim Presley and Welsh indie pop artist Cate Le Bon.
What you may expect from this combination is not what you’ll get. You could imagine sounds of fuzz guitar and maybe a bit of jangle pop led by a female vocal. But, no. Drinks’ full length debut Hermits on Holiday is nothing of the sort.
Opening track “Laying Down Rock” projects a minimalistic guitar riff accented by a singular yelp from what sounds like a grumpy old man, something that proves to be pretty unnerving. However, acoustic guitar and Presley’s soft vocals then chime in, beckoning comfort. It perfectly embodies what you are getting into with Hermits on Holiday. It’s stepping into a dark world, somewhere unsafe. Then feeling at ease with pretty vocals and catchy rhythms.
The whole album plays with the ideas of discomfort and beauty. Creepy and sweet, experimental and catchy. On songs like the album opener and “She Walks So Fast,” rhythmic guitar riffs sound as if they were taken straight from The Fall sessions, which is no surprise since Presley was once a member of the influential punk group for a short stint.
Unlike the maddening vocals of Mark E. Smith, however, both Presley and Le Bon track a beautiful, smooth delivery of lyrics. Even when Presley dives into post punk yelps on “She Walks So Fast,” a song that is broken up in a malfunctioning robotic way, there’s less of a harsh aggression and more of a dark eeriness.
In contrast, songs like “Cannon Mouth” enter a more upbeat, happy world. A keyboard emulating Jamaican drums takes the forefront as a thumping guitar riff sits in the background. Vibrato on both Le Bon and Presley’s vocals push senses underwater. The song picks up during the chorus and returns to a steady dance rhythm, making it one of the catchiest songs on the album.
“Hermits on Holiday” also takes on an overall sense of charm, with Le Bon’s optimistic vocal over a simple metronome rhythm. There’s something happy about the track, even during the delivery of lyrics “I wanna be restless…I wanna be lonely.”
It’s that mix of 80s post punk and floral pop that go together so well. Take a break from the garage and enter the world of Drinks, you deserve it.
Drinks are currently on tour and will make a stop in Los Angeles on November 5 at The Echo.