Yesterday saw the long-awaited return of American-Welsh band Drowners, with their single ‘Cruel Ways’, giving the first taste to the sound of their upcoming sophomore album, ‘On Desire’, due to be released in late June.
It’s been more than two years since the release of their first self-titled album, debuting the band of a former model, and now frontman, Matt Hitt, Jack Ridley III, Erik Lee Snyder, and Daniel Jacobs. Their sound featured upbeat riffs and somewhat cliché lyrics about love and relationships, but nevertheless, they impressed a wide audience with their guitar-driven ‘post-punk’ melodies that balance between “modern indie rock and classic new wave”, which as a result have led them to be compared to the likes of The Strokes.
The track begins with a heavy guitar riff followed by Hitt’s husky vocals, something different to their original sound. It has a sense of moody melancholia, evoking a gritty feel that Hitt describes as the feeling of “being locked in a dark room wondering what the hell’s going on outside”. Paired with the thwacking drum beat, this new single shows the band’s progression and maturity to their sound.
The jittery indie-pop, that was the forefront of their sound in their debut, has been pushed aside, leaving room for more bold and plucky lyrics and seductive vocals. The new track surely gives us these alluring, breathless vocals, found the build up to the chorus, hitting a point that has the potential to get a crowd going when performed live. However, their lyrics almost feel empty and repetitive, and they fail to produce the raw and juicy lyrical content that can propel their music to be something truly captivating.
Nevertheless, its catchy melody will not fail to make it a great ‘feel-good’ summer hit, ignoring the heavy subject of the song. ‘Cruel Ways’ acts a good standing point for the upcoming album, and hopefully, the intimacy and aspiration it so clearly has will be revolutionary for the band’s sound.