The DRINK – ” The Coming Rain/Roller “

Posted: November 27, 2015 in MUSIC
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TheDrinkBestLandChrisFleet

The Drink are the trio of singer and guitarist Dearbhla Minogue, bassist David Stewart and drummer Daniel Fordham. All three members are involved in other projects; Dearbhla plays with the superb The Wharves and Shield Your Eyes, Daniel has collaborated with short story writer Stuart Evers producing soundscapes inspired by his writing, and both Daniel and David were involved in the recent album by The Leaf Library.

One of the most impressive facets of The Drink’s sound is that they are a three piece, but they never sound like it. The musical textures, and layering is beautifully judged throughout, so you can’t help but think you’re listening to a much larger ensemble. The instrumentation rarely stretches to much more than bass, drums, guitar and the odd blast of synth or organ, yet they never sound creatively stifled by these limitations. They’re also a band who seem to borrow influences from all sorts of sources and stitch them into a cohesive whole; there’s elements of prog, pop, psych, disco, they willingly admit that their excellent single, The Coming Rain, is heavily influenced by Kenyan luo nyatiti player, Ayun Ogada, and no we’re not sure what a luo nyatiti sounds like either.

Although all the members are not all from London, (Dearbhla grew up in Galway and the other two members are from parts unknown) and they recorded their album in a converted Pig Farm outside of Sheffield, The Drink are essentially a London band, which should go some way to explaining their new album title, Capital, because London is as you’re most likely aware, the capital city of England.

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WHEN?
The Drink were formed after Dearbhla overheard David and Daniel playing in another band, and decided she needed that rhythm section for herself! Having released a series of EP’s, The Drink signed to Melodic to release Company, their sort of debut album, sort of greatest EP hits compilation. That only saw the light of day back in 2014, but not wanting to lose the momentum by heading out on tour, The Drink reconvened in the studio and back on November 13th they released Capital, again on Melodic Records.

WHY?
In a word, ambition. Capital is a record that pushes the boundaries of what is possible for three people to produce with tight time constraints and we can only assume limited budget. Discussing the record Dearbhla has mentioned the, “got-to-catch-my-train feel” of the guitar sound on many of the tracks, brought about by discovering the perfect sound just hours before having to leave the studio. This record sounds not stifled by these limitations but energised by them, the record is laced with the exuberance and buoyancy that can only be brought about by recording things live, and in some ways in a rush.

That said, this is no simple three chord punk record (not that there’s anything wrong with those). The Drink seem to absorb influences from everything they hear. The piano on Potter’s Grave that has the same bar room-jazz meet indie-rock feel of later-period The Walkmen, Hair Trigger is jerky psych-prog-pop that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Field Music recording, whilst the frankly gorgeous I’ll Never Make You Cry is equal parts Grizzly Bear and The Shangri-Las.

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However for all those influences there’s plenty of calling points that are unmistakably and wonderfully, The Drink. The effortless chemistry of the rhythm section, who seem to take it in turns to lead and follow, in a way more akin to cyclists in the peloton than musicians. They’re the epitome of tight, injecting the more melodic instrumentation and vocals with the freedom to play loosely and creatively atop the perfectly crafted sound-bed beneath them; and what creativity Dearblha has! The guitar patterns that fluctuate from simple reverberating strums, to intricate cyclical patterns and almost free-form prog-soloing. The vocals at times layered into intricate and complex round patterns, at others piercing and solo. Dearbhla’s voice is unmistakable and sounds almost effortless even and her range is stunning, the high notes that suddenly leap forth are as arresting as they are impressive.

WHY NOT?
There’s very rare occasions on this album when the songs slightly overstay their welcome,  a product most likely of having too many ideas, which is hardly the worst problem in the world. There’s also the odd occasion, most noticeably Potter’s Grave, where the resemblance to Dearbhla’s other band The Wharves is perhaps a little too close for comfort, still again it’s a minor fault, and there’s far worse bands you could sound a little too much like.

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