“Abysmal Thoughts” (quotation marks included), the latest album from The Drums, is available now. “Blood Under My Belt,” the first taste of “Abysmal Thoughts,” is quintessential Drums: a real heartbreaker disguised as a sunny track, showcasing frontman Jonny Pierce’s masterful pop sensibility.
Across a year and three months of home recording between Los Angeles and his cabin in upstate New York—with the same guitar, synthesizer, drum machine and reverb unit he’s played since the beginning of The Drums—Pierce put together “Abysmal Thoughts.” With help from engineer Jonathan Schenke (Parquet Courts, Mannequin Pussy and more), the result is an unflinching autobiography with Pierce back in full control of the band. He’s back to not just writing all the songs by himself but playing every instrument, too, this time realizing exactly his own personal vision for the band. Not coincidentally, it’s some of the most revelatory work he’s ever done. It is a vivid self-portrait, alive with the hyperdramatic emotional potency of the Smiths, the arch literary pop moves of New Zealanders like the Verlaines and the Clean, and the riotous clatter-punk power of the UK DIY bands of 1979.