Jonny by The Drums album review by David Saxum for Northern Transmissions. The artist's full-length drops on October 13th via ANTI-



The Drums

In the expansive landscape of indie pop, The Drums consistently offer their distinctive fusion of captivating melodies and thought-provoking lyrics. With their latest album, aptly titled Jonny, frontman Jonny Pierce takes us on an introspective odyssey into the depths of his inner universe. In this musical journey, he extends a sincere invitation to listeners, beckoning them to explore the themes of healing, self-discovery, and the enduring echoes of childhood trauma. This isn’t a mere compilation of tracks; it’s a profound dive into the artist’s psyche, cocooned within glistening melodies and lyrics that resonate with deep emotion. The album’s raw vulnerability tugs at the heartstrings, urging us to embrace and console our own inner child.

As the album unfolds, “I Want It All” serves as its poignant introduction. Here, Pierce’s vocals are imbued with longing and melancholy, guiding us through a landscape of past love, indelible memories, and the lingering shadows of childhood trauma. This bittersweet initiation sets the emotional tone that courses through the entirety of the album. Within the song’s lyrics, he yearns for something he’s never truly experienced but has subconsciously yearned for throughout his life—the love of a mother. Growing up without it, he encased himself, preventing anyone else from reaching the depths of his soul. The song beautifully encapsulates his fervent desire to shatter the protective shell he’s wrapped around himself.

Pierce lays bare his soul, offering a profoundly intimate and revealing musical journey. Within this album, Johnny’s musical prowess is fully showcased as he gracefully guides us through the emotional odyssey he’s embarked upon. This album isn’t merely a collection of songs; it’s an immersive experience that demands to be listened to in one uninterrupted setting. Johnny expertly weaves multiple tracks together, creating a seamless tapestry of emotions and storytelling.

A standout track that demands attention is “Better,” which poses a profound question to the listener: “What do you do when your favorite person is also the one who hurts you the most?” Within its haunting undertones, you can viscerally feel the depth of Johnny’s pain. It’s a track that resonates with the soul, urging contemplation. This haunting essence effortlessly flows into the subsequent track, “Harms,” which delves into the impact of his mother’s lack of love on his ability to love. Here, ethereal backup vocals serve as poignant echoes, amplifying the song’s message.

The seamless transition continues into “Little Johnny,” a song where Johnny intimately and vulnerably affirms his inner child, known as Little Johnny. He offers comfort, granting permission for the child within to express its emotions freely. This trio of songs— “Better,” “Harms,” and “Little Johnny”—forms the emotional core of Johnny’s journey. It’s a remarkable odyssey that few embark upon: recognizing the inability to love due to the absence of a caregiving template and, ultimately, finding the capacity for love through self-compassion and nurturing the inner child. It’s a profound discovery and journey that offers a valuable template for listeners to explore within themselves.

Jonny continues his seamless blending of tracks with “Plastic Envelope” and “Protect Him Always.” In “Plastic Envelope,” he grapples with uncertainty about reopening his heart and the profound isolation it brings. The recurring refrain, “Alone, Alone, Alone,” echoes the depth of his solitude. Yet, as the song transitions into “Protect Him Always,” Johnny once again addresses a younger version of himself. He bestows upon himself flowers, granting permission to take the time needed for healing. Furthermore, he extends an apology, leaving us to ponder whether it’s directed toward a new lover or himself. Regardless, the song concludes with a potent line: “I’m healing as fast as I can, I’m so sorry.”

Across the entirety of the album, Jonny Pierce has skillfully employed haunting and distant vocals that serve as a poignant backdrop, emphasizing the themes of trauma and vulnerability that pervade the work. However, on “Pool God,” there’s a departure from that established style, with noticeably clearer vocals. This shift in vocal delivery acts as a spotlight, accentuating the track’s central message—a declaration of self-discovery and growth.

Here, Pierce’s lyrics resonate with the idea that he is brimming with love and has undergone significant personal growth. He likens himself to a blooming flower, having evolved from a mere seed. The song beautifully conveys the notion that he has experienced the warmth of the sun, symbolizing personal transformation and newfound openness. This metamorphosis signifies a departure from the enclosed emotional shell he once enveloped himself in. It’s a poignant and uplifting message that encapsulates the broader themes of healing and self-discovery threaded throughout the album.

One of the things that makes this album so great is that we’re not always sure who Jonny is talking to. Is it his inner child, present-day him, his Mother, or some former lover? Perhaps it’s all of the above. I think he’s left some of the lines purposely ambiguous so that we can find our own meaning to help us move through our own trauma. He offers this album both as a guide for our own journey and as a reflection of his own.

Jonny by The Drums is a triumph in vulnerability that invites listeners to embark on a journey of self-discovery and healing. With its captivating melodies and profound lyrics, this album is a testament to the enduring power of music to explore the innermost corners of the human experience. Jonny Pierce’s introspection and willingness to bare his soul make this an album that lingers in the heart and mind long after the music stops. It’s a poignant reminder that sometimes, the most profound healing starts from within.

Pre-order Jonny by The Drums HERE


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