Michael Collins aka Drugdealer has returned with his sophomore effort, Raw Honey, a rich and playful 9-song LP that mines a heavily orchestrated, psych pop vein.
Collins, who originally began crafting music from a purely sample-based vantage point, has a keen sense of space and texture which he applies to his now learned musicianship. “I made the decision to approach songwriting from the perspective of a listener, rather than a ‘musician,” he asserts, clearly delineating his role in the group. This deliberate objective artistic stance seems to work in his favor, as each track on Raw Honey oozes with glowing string sections, milky harmonies and twangy, country dissonance.
Built on the foundation of a creative partnership between Collins, Sasha Winn (vocals) and Shags Chamberlain (bass, production), Drugdealer is more a collective than band, yet comes across as a singular artistic vision. There is certainly an affinity with late 60’s pop, and the 9-song set is literally stuffed to the brim with British Invasion-like melodic flourishes. One can see a common thread running between the current work of Foxygen and Father John Misty, with heavenly retro backdrops providing the bedrock for modern day, tongue-in-cheek lyricism.
“If You Don’t Know Now, You Never Will” is a striking piece of harmony-drenched piano pop that would make Sir Elton proud, while “Lonely” evokes Band On The Run-era McCartney. The pièce de résistance, however, is the jangly mid-album ballad “Wild Motion” which sounds like someone plucked Roy Orbison out of the “Pretty Women” recording session and asked him to front The Flying Burrito Brothers. It’s a weird and wonderful song that begs for a repeat listen in order to let all the gentle dynamics sink in.
Dylan once adamantly described the vibe he wished to capture in the studio was “…that thin mercury sound,” which he confirmed was consummated on Blonde on Blonde. Drugdealer seems to have similar ambitions when it comes to production, and a knack for tapping into that wonderfully 2-dimensional classic rock soundscape which Dylan seemed to be pining over. Raw Honey would certainly fit in with the myriad of excellent hybrid folk pop albums that emerged during the 60’s, but stands as an anomaly with the present day musical fare.
review by Mike Olinger
Fri. April 12 – Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom (Raw Honey Release Show)
Fri. April 19 – Brooklyn, NY @ Market Hotel (Raw Honey Release Show)
Sun. May 12 – Manchester, UK @ YES
Wed. May 15 – London, UK @ The Dome Tufnell Park
Thu. May 16 – Paris, FR @ Point Ephemere
Fri. May 17 – Cologne, DE @ Gewölbe GmbH
Sun. May 19 – Copenhagen, DK @ Vega (Small Hall)
Mon. May 20 – Hamburg, DE @ Aalhaus
Thu. May 23 – Brussels, BE @ Witloof Bar
Fri. May 24 – Den Haag, NL @ Sniester Festival
Sat. May 25 – Amsterdam, NL @ De Nieuwe Anita
Wed. July 10 – Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf
Fri. July 12 – Austin, TX @ Barracuda Inside
Sat. July 13 – Houston, TX @ Satellite Bar
Sun. July 14 – New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa
Mon. July 15 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
Tue. July 16 – Washington, DC @ Union Stage
Wed. July 17 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
Sun. July 21 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Café
Mon. July 22 – Detroit, MI @ El Club
Tue. July 23 – Chicago, IL @ Sleeping Village
Wed. July 24 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
Sat. July 27 – Calgary, AB @ Palomino Social Club
Mon. July 29 – Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern
Tue. July 30 – Vancouver, BC @ The Fox Cabaret
Wed. July 31 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
Fri. Aug. 2 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
Sun. Aug. 4 – Pioneertown, CA @ Pappy and Harriets
Looking for something new to listen to?
Sign up to our all-new newsletter for top-notch reviews, news, videos and playlists.