Portamento - The Drums
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64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 19 Ratings

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  • Summary: The Brooklyn indie poppers releases its sophomore album.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. Nov 3, 2011
    80
    A disarmingly personal record on which frontman Jonny Pierce dissects his past and present with equal parts brazen candor and tender pathos, never pandering to cheap nostalgia. [Oct 2011, p.104]
  2. Sep 9, 2011
    80
    They only really have one kin do f song and tempo, rollicking yet melancholy, but they write them very, very well. [Oct 2011, p.84]
  3. Sep 20, 2011
    70
    Portamento will charm you, hug you, haunt you and yes, sometimes baffle you whilst offering further proof that they are a more fascinating proposition than many give them credit for.
  4. 63
    On its own, Pierce's clever lyrical ache resonates; but in extended play, his yearning and preening against twee surf-pop and minimal electro-pop can grow tiresome.
  5. Sep 8, 2011
    60
    As the title suggests, the band is evolving gradually rather than in dramatic swells.
  6. Aug 30, 2011
    60
    Portamento is simplicity redux, to the point of composing songs that sound too alike, and too like the last album.
  7. Sep 1, 2011
    40
    Like last year's debut, this employs repetition and deliberate naivety, but it's starting to sound disingenuous, perhaps because of a strong sense of joylessness and duty.

See all 25 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Sep 17, 2011
    9
    The Drums sophomore album, is an incredibly dizzy album that builds upon the melodies and the hooks of the self-titled album. Portamento starts off with 5 songs that rack up a instant play-list with the sound and resonance with the listeners. Portamento, is about discovering what is to come, while remembering how important the past is...and knowing you will take both with you as you move forward... Expand
  2. Sep 22, 2011
    9
    I'm sorry - but this album deserves much more than a petty 'average' 6.4 score. I personally found it a charming smiths-esque album with simple but sing-along-worthy vocals and melodies that will stay with you for weeks. Having played it on repeat for the first few days after getting it, and still returning to it weeks after, I can safely say that it is a more than worthwhile album to invest your time into. Expand
  3. Jun 9, 2012
    9
    The Drums's Summertime! EP became legendary immediately. Their major label debut was a little more worrisome, as it lifted some of the original songs ("Let's Go Surfing," "Down By The Water") but featured little else that was the equal of the other original songs ("Don't Be A Jerk, Johnny" or "Submarine"). Not having any sort of first-hand information or insider scoop, I'm going to blame that on moving to Brooklyn. I'm also going to make a couple of other assumptions, but don't want to inadvertently be guilty of libel. If I suggest the remaining members of The Drums are influenced by their (totally normal for their age bracket) drug use and crazy youth lifestyle, understand that I do so from a perfectly benign perspective. Listening to Portamento under the influence of... let's say strong cough medicine will reveal something in the nature of these songs. Whether that was put there consciously or accidentally is none of my business. But repeat listens of "If He Likes It Let Him Do It" (which gets incrementally spookier with each repeat listen) is enough to convince me there is a targeted mental state for Portamento. It also speaks to what virtually everyone else has noted is increasing darkness creeping into this once sunkissed band obsessed with smashing things like Joy Division and the Beach Boys together. Portamento is darker, yes, but not completely dark. A Smiths reference isn't a terrible starting point, as long as it's clear The Drums don't use the Britpop tropes of Marr & Co. For every patently dark song, there are two not dark songs providing the necessary buoyancy. The best songs are the not dark ones, frankly. "Days" is better than anything on the first full length. The band has admitted that their interpersonal dynamics are too volatile to give the band much of a future. Regrettable. But if true, fans have to enjoy each gift we receive as if it was the last. Expand
  4. Sep 30, 2011
    8
    I am sure that this will labelled as smiths-esque or post punk band by many critics because it is easy to label in order to name it.. but there is a way of search work here. critics should stop comparing one group to another ex-one(s), they'd better search for emotional soundscape and sincerity in details!!!!! Expand
  5. Dec 2, 2011
    7
    While it is a good record, it does lack the charm and brightness of their debut. This record is a lot darker and the lyrics go into a lot more depth and are alot more personal. There are still some catchy melodies going on but not on the same scale as before. I wouldn't say the Drums experiment here but they do try one or two new things. It's probably 2 or 3 tracks too long. I wonder where the band go from here. Expand
  6. Sep 17, 2011
    7
    Indie-pop group The Drums release their follow-up to their 2010 debut, this record has a way mature sound then the first one did, it blends modern indie-rock with an old-school new wave sound. It features unique tracks like "Money", but also has down sides with tracks like "I Need A Doctor". All together, this album leads to a series of unique and interesting songs, but also blends new wave and indie rock in some of the songs. Expand

See all 8 User Reviews