Hype can make or break a band. That much is true but how a band embraces that hype defines its effect, especially for any act to break out of New York. Remember Fischerspooner? Nah. Thought not. New York’s next export to follow in the steps of The Strokes are The Drums. Already a certain weekly music publication has them down as their number one tip for 2010. High praise indeed which meant an expectant crowd wondering what all the fuss was about, both inside and outside Latitude 30 on Friday night.
Granted, with temperatures pushing 20 degrees, many believed that summertime had officially arrived but this was the set to confirm it. Despite hailing from New York their sound is easily more West Coast than East, more Beach Boys than Ramones. For those seeing the band for the first time, frontman Jonathan Pierce may seem a little out of place with his deep and powerful voice. For one, the gregarious vocals were at odds with the playful ones heard on record yet performed live breathe life into purposely shallow rhythms. With Pierce’s diva posturing and bassist Jacob Graham slightly worryingly hyperactive tambourine bashing during 'Best Friend', for a guitar band, few will match The Drums’ visual entertainment. The band can also provide aural surprise, like the sweeping sound for 'Submarine' that defied their typical disparate guitar din.
Taking inspiration from the heroic elements of camp 80s pop may suggest a backhanded compliment yet for 'I Felt So Stupid' the insight worked effectively and it became admirable how Pierce stared out his baying audience. Using what sounded like coconuts for percussion may be taking the promise too far during 'Don’t Be A Jerk, Johnny'. Clearly not one to avoid the limelight, defiantly Pierce continued with his own brand of exuberance and provided a more full on experience than you would perhaps expect. At times he seemed to ape Mick Jagger yet during the effervescent 'Let’s Go Surfing', his demeanour was more Iggy Pop as his body showcased an adept elasticity. With a distinct drop in tempo, 'Down By The Water' followed and demonstrated the outfit‘s already enviable back catalogue to continually impress no matter what tone was improvised. The band were back to their usual enthusiastic selves for the emphatic 'Forever And Ever', closing a set sparkling in vibrancy and dripping in confidence.
Don’t believe the hype, just go and see The Drums.