Having no lyric sheets, band photographs and mostly indecipherable lyrics, The Drown tap into the enigmatic side of new wave. Those who grew up on groups like the Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance know this quite well. However, in the ’90s, as alternative rock crossed over into the mainstream, that sense of mystery was tossed aside, especially with the popularity of the internet years later. There was always something exciting, thrilling about listening to an artist that you couldn’t see anywhere, a strong sense of Mr. X hiding in the shadows.
And in the dark is where The Drown reside. Just listen to the disorienting, ethereal guitars and spooky, whispered vocals on “Discourse.” The title alone has the single-word Joy Division flavor, open to a number of interpretations, probably none of which the group intended. “Discourse” dives headfirst into the abyss, producing a sense of impending doom. It will sound stellar at your nearest Goth dance floor.
The Drown are heavily influenced by the ’80s, but not necessarily the ’80s with which the masses are familiar. The inspirations here are mostly from the underground: the aforementioned Joy Division, Bauhaus, New Order, Love & Rockets and Gene Loves Jezebel. They seem to love David Bowie, too, as “Still” is reminiscent of the Thin White Duke’s glam years — although the beat is slowed to a Joy Division dirge.
Although it feels a tad incomplete with only five tunes (one appearing twice, repeated as a radio edit), this is an evocative rainy-day soundtrack.
The Drown: www.thedrown.com