Courtesy of stereogum.com
New York City’s The Drums dazzled in their fidelity to a niche sound, but the band recently lost a few members. Johnny Aries, one of the Drums defectors, has decided to take things solo. His album, Unbloomed, has a clear Drums influence, while also channeling The Smiths in a more pronounced way than the Drums ever considered. Skillfully executed, the album shows promise for the blossoming solo artist.
The songs on Unbloomed have exquisite recording quality. The sounds come cleanly and purely. It gives the album a certain immediate beauty, without even judging the songs on their merit. Aries layers instruments well, tracks feature the right amount of reverb, and the vocals sit atop the music at an appropriate level. Aries sometimes employs an unusual sonic palette — the cleanliness of the recordings allows listeners to bathe in his obscure sounds. In general, Unbloomed displays a wonderful sensibility in the recording quality of the album.
“To be Desired” stands out among the tracks. It has a Drums-like pulsing bass line and Aries creates a wonderful chorus with guitars and vocals combining to create dynamism. He doesn’t take long on this track – it runs a mere 2:28 and the chorus hits within the first fifteen seconds. A track like “To be Desired” communicates that Aries can carry the burden as a solo artist.
Unbloomed fails, however, when Aries slows things down. At times, the tracks can sound monotonous and too still. While some slower tracks have great subtle beauty – “I’m a Dreamer”, in particular – others lethargically yawn on. Despite this, the elegant recording quality of the tracks makes for pleasant background music, even when the songs lack punch.
If Aries can find a way to more consistently connect with his slower tracks he has the potential to create a gem of an album, especially in terms of contemporary alternative rock album. Unbloomed has wonderful moments, and others that fall flat. Purchase the album here. Find out more about Johnny Aries on his Facebook. Read about The Drums’ two preview tracks from their upcoming album Encyclopedia recently revealed on FDRMX’s Encyclopedia of Music here.