21 Aug 2015

DRINKS / Hermits on Holiday (album review)

DRINKS are a project of Welsh singer Cate Le Bon and American psych musician Tim Presley (AKA White Fence) that signed to Heavenly recs earlier this year. Their sound is relatively summery, in that it's full of sun-kissed melodies, but is done in a kind of odd, dystopic, simple way, making for an album you've really gotta listen to over and over before you can really work out if you like it or not.

Most the songs on Hermits on Holiday follow a kind metronomic formula - everything fits into the same sort of ticking-tocking rhythm, and as a result, the whole thing has the tendency to really hypnotise the listener. She Walks So Fast is so oddly charming, with it's steady repetition of Presley's opening guitar noodle and with Le Bon's beautiful, deadpan voice.

Overall though, the album is an incredibly playful, carefree experience that more than anything shows two talented musicians having a bit of fun. The nonsensical lyrics of Tim, do i like that dog are a far stretch from the tight garage psych of white fence, but are a bit better off for that. As artists, the pair don't take themselves too seriously, which makes the record just a bit of fun, and a nice playful listen.

But despite this, it does still feel really quite formulaic, with the same patterns smattered all over the record, and on a few tracks, there are lots of instrumental passages where not a huge amount happens before Tim's cool voice comes back. As well as that, where it's not a wholly serious affair, if you're listening to it because you want the creative minds of two brilliant individuals to produce an album that's as brilliant artistically as anything they've done before, you'll leave the experience of Hermits on Holiday bitterly disappointed because it's full of nonsense lyrics, almost comic-larger than life personas, and a few songs that feel kind of half written (or at least like they were written in less time than they take to perform).

Don't let any of those negatives get you down though; it's a really nice summer album, which avoids cliches well to be a very accomplished record. It is what it is; it's a bit of fun, it's some talented musicians messing around, it's a summer side project. But Hermits on Holiday is a lovely release and it's kind of exciting that the duo are taking it out on the road this summer.


listen to the charming title track below 

(written by calum cashin)