DRUGDEALER – ” Hiding In Plain Sight “

Posted: October 28, 2022 in MUSIC
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On Drugdealer’s latest, the grooves breeze by and make you wonder what decade you’re really in. Tracks like “Madison” and “Valentine” suggest a Steely Dan influence, both with the laid-back, yet lively guitar licks and the lyrics, emphasizing a romanticized but mysterious woman. As the fall chill deepens, this album works hard to recreate the feeling of sun on your face. It’s difficult to muster up any sort of anxieties in the balmy world of this LP.

Singer/songwriter Kate Bollinger’s vocals on “Pictures of You” arrive sweetly and just in time in the middle of the album, showing that the band truly understand the direction of their music, and who works best as a collaborating partner. Although the album does not expand far out of the funky relaxation it quickly settles into, the band carry it off effortlessly. Closing track “Posse Cut” best holds this easy groove, while vocals full of unexpected notes keep the listener under their spell. 

“Madison,” the opening track on “Hiding in Plain Sight”, is the first song Collins wrote singing in this suggested range. His newfound confidence as a yarn-spinning vocalist in the gruff tenor tradition of Nick Lowe, or even Van Morrison, is readily apparent, with Conor “Catfish” Gallaher’s pedal steel adding a dusting of cosmic country to Collins’ down-hard love song.

When Collins wrote the would-be AM Gold hit, he was summoning an imaginary vision of a love that had eluded him in reality. The song focuses on an unknown figure he could idealize. “All the art I’ve made is related to this searching archetype,” Collins says. “I feel there’s no one way that people find love in their life. When I started to make this album, I noticed that all the lyrics dealt with this subject. On ‘Madison,’ the chorus goes ‘Hoping you’ll find a love/You’re one design of love.’ Then the next song I wrote went ‘Find someone to love…’ At that point, I pretty much knew where it was going. Sasha (my main musical partner) and I are both incredibly romantic. We’ve worked on multiple projects that are all based around this search for love.”

Tim Presley sings on the second song, “Baby,” and Collins had a clear role in mind for the California avant-rock mainstay. “I love White Fence so much, but I also wanted to hear Presley sing a song that sounded like an early ’60s sock hop band who had never tried drugs in their life.” Meanwhile, Kate Bollinger floats an effervescent lead vocal over the Rhodes-driven groove in “Pictures of You.” As usual, Collins wrangled a who’s who of background singers and instrumentalists to carry out Hiding in Plain Sight’s vision. Mainly, however, the record acts as a welcome showcase for Collins as an emboldened lead singer, a wayward bandleader who has found a way to love himself as a singer, songwriter and storyteller.

On “Hard Dreaming Man,” he looks back at a restless decade on the road through the rearview mirror. “Hard dreaming man/lemme tell you anything I know… I gotta go any place I can go,” he sings over a chorus of honky-tonk guitars you might hear wafting out of saloon doors. “The thing I actually do at a high level isn’t playing piano,” Collins says, “it’s telling stories. Our group of musicians, we all just really like to hang out and tell stories together.”

Drugdealer – “Pictures of You feat. Kate Bollinger” From the album ‘Hiding in Plain Sight’ out 28th October 2022

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