"I'm a bartender in Brooklyn, and spend most of my life on *that* side of the bar" says Jon DeRosa. Having myself spent a couple of years holding the fort in an East London boozer, obviously, I was intrigued. Man, the things you see from 'that' side... 'Birds of Brooklyn', starting off as a downbeat gravelly barytone ballad telling romanticised tales of some regular faces, picks itself up slightly with its pace, as the trumpet joins in and silences get filled and the listener's caught up in a warmly orchestrated parade a la Beirut, quite far from the original Cat Stevens-ey melancholy. DeRosa, whom we find for the B-side covering 1962 Nick Charles track 'Sunday Jealous' - released this single a week back as the first off his debut solo album, 'A Wolf In Preacher's Clothes', which on November 5th will be available thoughout Europe thanks to a recent deal with Rocket Girl; following a performance at this year's CMJ Festival, we're expecting to find new dates announced soon - stay tuned.
"Uptempo" and "Pop" are by themselves two concepts that - in the business of being an indie band - can take you quite far; but if on top of that you add to the equation also comparisons to The Smiths, then the hype can get out of control. Brooklyn's Drowners have more than one similarity with Morrisey's act, and although they will surely feel belittled by such comparison, they should not, because no artists really managed to be The Smiths' worthy musical heir yet (like, for example, XTC were for The Beatles, Robin Hitchcock for Syd Barrett, and The Strokes for Lou Reed - uhm, maybe...).
The band's 3 songs debut EP features the remarkable single "Between Us Girls" (streaming below) which immediately throws us back to the days of "Meat is Murder," with the electric guitar alternating between jangly parts and arpeggios, and Welsh frontman Matt Hitt singing semi-melancholically about some girls' hair length - rather than about how big they are... The edge is slightly punkier, while the songwriting reveals an almost clinical concision (the song clocks in just under 2 minutes, with the first chorus coming in after 26" - A&R allergic to intros will dig that).
The second song, "You've Got it All Wrong," beats a similar musical path, tackling the infinite well of inspiration that (for Brits) is life at the pub, with the difference of a slower bridge, which acts as a breather for the final chorus. Final track "A Shell Across the Tongue" is the punkier of the bunch, but also the one with the least memorable melody.
This is obviously a band with enormous songwriting potential. If they'll manage to write songs as good as these and integrate their influences in a more mature and personal sound, the world can be theirs. - PDG