The Drums return from internal turmoil with new record ‘Encyclopedia’

(Photo courtesy of Minor Records)

(Photo courtesy of Minor Records)

Brooklyn-based band The Drums is back with a new album titled “Encyclopedia,” which will be released Sept. 23.

This follow-up to the 2011 album, “Portamento,” comes at a crucial point in the band’s career. Before the release of “Portamento,” the band announced that guitarist Adam Kessler left the band and that many “shouting matches” had occurred, which nearly caused a break-up.

This internal trouble seemed to continue during their 2012 tour, when former drummer, then guitarist, Connor Hanwick, quit. When the tour came to a close that fall, The Drums’s future was left up in the air.

Lead singer Jonny Pierce announced a solo album, which was intended to be released last year but is still nowhere to be seen, despite the release of a music video for the single “I Didn’t Realise.” The song used dreamier vocal effects than past Drums tracks and featured a heavier synthesizer; it was void of the jangly, poppy guitar that has become a staple in most of their releases.

Jacob Graham, the other remaining member of the group, also announced a solo project called Cascading Slopes; his album, “Towards a Quaker View of Synthesizers” is slated for a fall 2014 release and is being billed on the band’s website as “An unassuming folk album made strictly with voltage-controlled instruments.”

A single, “Maple Trees,” came out in the spring of 2013. Because both members decided to do their own thing for a while, The Drums was put on hold; in fact, the band has only played about 10 shows since the end of the 2012 tour in October.

Then, in November of last year, Pierce announced to his fans that his solo album, “Queen Nail,” would have to wait, because he and Graham were busy and focused on the making of a new Drums album.

Now, almost a year later, the release date is quickly approaching, as is a string of shows, two of which are in Arizona. Over the summer, two singles off of the record were released.

The first, “Magic Mountain,” was released in July to mixed responses. Spin Magazine appropriately described it as “skull-rattling.” The second single, released just days ago, is called “I Can’t Pretend” and seems to be getting more favorable reviews — perhaps because the song is noticeably more toned-down than the first.

Fans, however, should not be expecting the same type of music from the band. In an interview with Billboard, Pierce said while making the album, his strategy was to “really go for it without worrying about anyone’s approval or anyone’s opinion.”

After sequestering themselves in a cabin in New York, Graham said they realized they could “have fun with this and make a record that’s interesting and bizarre.” The Drums seem to have fully reached the point in their career where they are comfortable creating the music they truly want to create without worrying about who they have to impress.

The Drums will be playing Club Congress in Tucson on Oct. 15 and at Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale on Oct. 16.

 

Reach the reporter at wruof@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @willruof