Gig review: The Drums - Glasgow O2 ABC

IT TOOK just one song before The Drums’ severe blonde-fringed frontman Jonathan Pierce proclaimed his love for Glasgow – a city that, between Orange Juice, The Pastels and The Wake, has effectively produced the blueprint for their brand of wan, jangly indie-pop.

“This is definitely, 100 per cent one of our favourite places in the world,” he gushed.

A lot has transpired since the New Yorkers’ last performance here at the same venue almost exactly 12 months ago. The pressures of being hyped as one of last year’s most exciting new bands, then struggling to deliver with a debut album that – for all its undeniable tunefulness – felt lightweight and derivative, nearly caused The Drums to split.

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Instead they’ve recruited two new members and strengthened up their thin, reverby sound somewhat on second album Portamento, the title of which was spelled out here in flashing bulbs. That arch miserablist one-liner of Morrissey-esque proportions which Pierce strives for – “I want to buy you something,” he fretted during one new song, “but I don’t have any money” – still eludes him. But he’s an arresting frontman, between his keening voice and dance moves so feyly limp-wristed it was almost a wonder he managed to lift his mic.

The twangy melodies and skittering beats of Forever and Ever Amen and Me and the Moon painted The Drums as a band you’ll more likely find in the middle of the indie disco dancefloor rather than skulking in the shadows. “Let’s have some more fun, if that’s alright?” chirped Pierce come the encore, perkily enough to suggest he’s a songwriter for whom sadness is only skin-deep.

Rating: ****