Despite lack of originality, Drowners debut album is catchy

Despite the monotony of another British post-punk record, there is something charming in the energy of this album that allows it to be countlessly repeated.


Drowners press image

The Drowner’s debut album borrows heavily from early Britpop.

After dominating the local scene in New York City, and creating a national fanbase with their previously released E.P. and single, The Drowners have released their jumpy debut record–one of the most promising of its kind for years. After only being on the market for a few weeks, this self-titled and well-cut pop record has received impressively high praise and recognition from around the country.

Upon moving to New York City in 2011 to pursue his modeling career, Welsh-born singer Matthew Hitt recruited three other musicians and immediately began the process of writing the songs that would become this jewel of a debut album. His U.K. nationality without a doubt is a lucky advantage, legitimizing their almost entirely British sound.

The newly-found band expanded their fanbase rapidly as they began to tour, supporting several English bands, their most obvious influence, placing them alongside the The Arctic Monkeys, The Vaccines and Foals in the post-Libertines generation of jumpy, punk-influenced British pop music.

The Drowners plow through these punchy songs (most of which barely hit the two-minute mark) like a well-oiled machine, reflecting the energy of their fast-paced hometown. Beginning each song with a hooky guitar riff, the American members of the band show-off their U.S. influences by nodding to East Coast punk bands like The Bouncing Souls and The Menzingers. This record also falls victim to the redundant yet charmingly British habit of using chord progressions unchanged since the 60s with a “well, it worked for the Beatles!” mentality.

Frenchkiss Records

All of this creates a rather unoriginal sound and without a doubt this record will not go without the they’re-your-typical-english-band-and-they’re-not-even-British-anyways complaints from Britpop enthusiasts. However, the way this record encompasses the entire history of British pop music, from The Beatles to The Smiths to The Libertines, creates a thoroughly enduring collection of songs.

With clever Smiths-esque lyrics sung with a smirk, and layered yet raw electric guitar, tracks like “Let Me Finish”, show-off the best of their post-punk predecessors (The Smiths, The Libertines, Joy Division, etc.) who initially popularized their style of gritty angst.

Fan-favorite and single, “Long Hair,” was written in the obvious format, with a dry verse and pre-chorus filling the space between energetic choruses. Despite the monotony of another British post-punk single, there is something charming in the energy of this track that allows it to be countlessly repeated.

Lyrically, the album is as humorous and silly as it is tragic. Hitt borrows Britpop god Morrissey’s concept of writing androgynous lyrics from the standpoint of both the sexes. This adds a fun and sometimes harrowing twist to the upbeat record. In the acoustic finale, “You Keep Showing Up,” Hitt says he was once a “different girl.”

Every so often, the world is graced by the formation of a band, that despite the lack any extraordinary talent, the members collide and create perfection. Without regard to their originality, Drowners works. Their debut, self-titled record, is one of the most hopeful of the decade, and despite almost the entire aesthetic of the band being borrowed and unoriginal, it proves itself as a fun and successful record.