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Drumlin

Paper Flowers

(self-released; US: 1 Mar 2011; UK: 1 Mar 2011)

Good-natured pop band seeks lyricist ASAP

Drumlin is an inoffensive family outfit playing a gentle, Sixpence-None-the-Richer-style of soft pop that is as forgettable as it is innocuous. Opener “Louie” summons up a bit of verve, with Anya Gilbert’s (or is it Kassia Gilbert’s?) vocals tripping over a rolling, acoustic rhythm, but things get dumb fast, with truly execrable lyrics popping up in “Cries” (a social protest song of the most ham-fisted type) and “Try for Me”.“It’s hard sometimes to let it go, just take it slow, I know I know I know.” Those are actual words that someone sings on this record, no kidding. If the unremittingly lazy lyrics don’t get you writhing, the dipped-in-treacle delivery should do the trick. That said, there’s a fair bit of musical life in the Celtic-inflected “My Dearie” and the standard “Annabel Lee,” but it’s all undermined by the eye-watering vocals in “Paper Flowers” and “Little Things.” As a group, Drumlin possesses a cohesive tightness and a fairly astute sense of pop song-craft—but guys, please, find yourselves a lyricist.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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