By: Rachel Katz
Jarring is a word not often attributed to music, but that’s the most accurate way to describe The Drums’ new album Encyclopedia. At times beautiful and soft, at others harsh and disjointed, the band’s third album is a confusing whirlwind of lush, layered sounds.
But that’s not inherently bad.
With Encyclopedia, Jonny Pierce and Jacob Graham continue to do what The Drums excel at: telling the truth. And, as heard in “Bell Laboratories,” the truth isn’t always pretty. The cacophony of sounds used in some of the tracks helps convey the band’s darker feelings and experiences.
That said, there are soothing, vulnerable tracks on the album that help ground the dizzying sounds of “Magic Mountain.” “Break My Heart” and “There Is Nothing Left” contrast the harsher songs on the record with their softer melodies and more traditional pop ballad sound.
My issue with the album is the lack of segues. The band does so many different things with the record that the added jolt from a disjointed song to a mellow one with nothing to ease the transition makes it difficult to focus on the music.
The Drums have created a world within Encyclopedia. The silence that follows the end of the album’s lush sounds feels stifling. The record ends with “Wild Geese,” a haunting track that some may consider a weak ending, but actually acts as a bridge that eases us back into the real world.
The Drums have created a piece of statement art rather than a traditional album. The raw sounds on some of the tracks connected with me in a way that music often falls short of doing. Is it my favourite album of the year? No. But it is powerful, and if you listen closely, you might just lose yourself in Encyclopedia.