Taking their name from the game-changing Suede hit and proudly brandishing a logo that marries the U.S. flag to the Union Jack, Brooklyn’s Drowners are unrepentant Anglophiles even if they do exude a certain NYC-cool. Chalk this up, perhaps, to lead singer Matthew Hitt’s Welsh heritage (or maybe a cool record collection passed down from an older brother), but the band’s self-titled debut is a trans-Atlantic delight.
Opening cut “Ways to Phrase a Rejection” comes on like Blur before quickly segueing into Strokes-influenced vocals and guitar. There is more of that “Strokes by way of Brit pop” on the catchy second track, “Long Hair,” before “Luv, Hold Me Down” joins Johnny Marr’s guitar to 80’s indie sounds that would have been right at home on American college radio back in the day.
Elsewhere on the album, “Unzip Your Harrington” shares in Morrissey’s 1950’s fetish, while “Bar Chat” is swirling post-punk, equal parts CBGB and C86. The closing tracks, “Shell Across the Tongue” (great title) and (digital bonus) “You Keep Showing Up,” are great end songs, the latter proving that Drowners (whichever side of the pond they are on) can beguile with just voice and acoustic guitar.
Drowners are about to embark on a U.S. tour (in some cases supporting U.K. psych sensations Temples) that will see the band playing extensively in the Midwest and on the West Coast. Some of the highlights include stops in Wisconsin (both capital city Madison and Milwaukee), Chicago and a coveted slot at the Coachella music festival in Indio, California.