Portamento

Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
Buy On
  1. Under The Radar
    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. Oct 11, 2011
    80
    Somehow Portamento is snuggled amidst St. Vincent and Braids and Tim Hecker and Colin Stetson on my year-end list.
  3. Sep 12, 2011
    80
    With their second album The Drums are more absorbing than ever, and have created a record that will last far longer than their first.
  4. Uncut
    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]
  5. Aug 30, 2011
    80
    The Drums are far too clever a band to suffer a sophomore slump, but Portamento does one better, dispelling any notion that they're merely the flavor of the month.
  6. Sep 20, 2011
    74
    In the place of anthems, though, are carefully constructed gems making up a sequencing run so solid it takes a few listens to pick out the exact drop-off point.
  7. 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.
  8. Sep 13, 2011
    70
    Guitarist Adam Kessler's exit makes room for a more overtly expansive approach on the Drums' just as solid sophomore outing.
  9. Sep 12, 2011
    70
    Portamento is a dramatic, bitchy and playful collection that can channel the aforementioned grief through the Drums' lively fingers, and come out effervescent on the other side.
  10. Sep 12, 2011
    70
    Where debut EP Summertime! and the über-hyped eponymous first album's songs had an oddly melancholic joyfulness that captured a number of imaginations back in early 2010, here there's a quiet switch to an oddly uplifting melancholy. On the best songs, that is – too many just sound gloomy and dull.
  11. As it is, and considering the upheaval following Adam Kessler's departure, it's best to look at Portamento as a marker of the potential brilliance that album three could bring.
  12. So while it displays a more mature and focused sound for The Drums, the album eventually crumbles beneath the weight of its influential stilts.
  13. 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.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 23 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. 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 theThe 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. Full Review »
  2. Feb 18, 2012
    8
    I wasn't the biggest fan with The Drums' self-titled debut. I was hesitant about getting this album but I listened to a few songs beforeI wasn't the biggest fan with The Drums' self-titled debut. I was hesitant about getting this album but I listened to a few songs before getting it and really liked them, so I got it. It surpassed my expectations. "Portamento" is actually a really good record. Every song is simple in it's own right, but also really catchy and hummable. I thoroughly enjoyed this album. B+ Full Review »
  3. Dec 28, 2011
    6
    They â