A true tangent from my first university writing class: Some media seems best enjoyed in, uh, an altered state of mind. My professor’s recommendation was to read “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” on weed, but the music of Drug Store Romeos is art and acid trip all at once. The London-based trio—consisting of Sarah Downey on vocals and Charlie Henderson and Jonny Gilbert on bass and drums, respectively—create dream pop with the genre’s hallmark qualities, replete with smeared reverb and analog synthesizers. What sets the band apart, though, is how they revamp the past for the present, an ethos seen in their Tennessee Williams-derived name and sparse Dadaist lyricism.
Take “Vibrate”, the last single from the trio’s debut album, The World Within Our Bedrooms, that feels like slipping in and out of hypnagogic hallucinations with each tempo and time signature change. Downey counts off words—”Vibrate / Correlate / Translate / Dissonance”—like petals plucked individually from a flower before she becomes entranced into a daze of na-na-nas, her voice as wispy and alluring as the tip of a flame from a plastic lighter. The bass and drums underneath plod with the weight of drowsiness, sinking deeper and deeper until the synths start to mew and twinkle and poof! The end comes unexpectedly as if awakened by the creak of a door in the dead of night.