Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

cover art

The Farewell Drifters

Echo Boom

(Heart Squeeze; US: 7 Jun 2011; UK: 7 Jun 2011)

As forgettable as. . . Sorry, what were we talking about?

The Farewell Drifters craft sweet, melodic and utterly forgettable songs on their third disc, Echo Boom. Honestly, there must be some kind of skill to writing tunes that evaporate so entirely from memory just moments after hearing them, but I’m not sure that’s anything to aspire to. These five young men from Tennessee play an acoustic-inflected style of pop using the occasional violin accent; songs are either uptempo toe-tappers like “Punchline” and “Heart of a Slave” or slower numbers like “Words” and “I’ve Had Enough”. All are marked, or possibly marred, by an evenhanded production that ensures nothing stands out, as well as stillborn lyrics (“I need a helping hand / For I am just a man”). It feels almost mean to dump on these guys, who seem as innocuous as a boy band and are aiming for the fresh-scrubbed appeal of the early Beatles. But niceness will only get you so far, and the Farewell Drifters just don’t have the tunes to make themselves interesting.


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, and, 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, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.

The Farewell Drifters - "We Go Together"
Related Articles
29 Jan 2014
While they are still extremely technical and carefully arranged, it’s nice to see the Farewell Drifters let go a little bit, pushing themselves in a few different directions.
By PopMatters Staff
29 Dec 2011
The year's best new and emerging artists range across the musical spectrum from forward thinking R&B to classic soul, from a bevy of exciting new hip-hop talent to great new hopes for indie rock and Americana. 2011 shows that music is always pushing forward even as it dips into the past.
6 Dec 2011
While last year was distinguished by a heavy dose of newgrass, jamgrass, and progressive bluegrass, 2011 was defined by a return to traditionalism.
7 Nov 2010
These guys don't do angst, and they don't wear overalls.
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks

© 1999-2014 All rights reserved.™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.