THE DRAMS Jubilee Drive (New West)
Morphing together members of alt.countrymen Slobberbone and rock classicists Budapest One, its not a staggering surprise to find The Drams debut album plying a tightly-meshing modern day Southern rock/country-rock hybrid. Immediate reference points include a swampier Son Volt or a pre-weirdness Wilco, the band even modelling Jeff Tweedys jacket n jeans look.
With its thick harmonies and wodges of guitars, Truth Lies Low sounds far more of a gang effort than anything on the Randall Bramblett album reviewed elsewhere. Theres a stately swagger to Holy Moses, and a chiming 60s pop homage buried in the Red Krayola-namechecking Fireflies. Lush with string and horn arrangements, You Wont Forget manages to be both jaunty and sad, whilst encapsulating in a nutshell the questing country-psych of Wilco circa Summerteeth. The albums high point for me is You & Me, MF (no, it stands for my friend) a Mellotron-marinated interlude later echoed by Shortsighted with its memorable anti-success clarion call of Lets play the shit joints/Lets just make up the songs as we go along. Theres archetypal tour bus blues on Des Moines and mixed-up, hungover confusion on Wonderous Life, again very Wilco with its sparse piano chords and vocal distortions.
Jubilee Drive might not be the most staggeringly distinctive album youll hear all year (unless the W section of your record collection is underpopulated by the works of Mr Tweedys crew), but its foot-tapping fun with ideas way above the stations that might suggest.