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Joy Division in the Sun

An unlikely surf-mope hybrid fuels the Drums.

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The retro-cute Brooklyn boys behind the fall’s catchiest release actually meant it for summer. They even named their EP Summertime! But technical difficulties ensued. “There was a skip on the master, so we had to send them all back,” says Jonathan Pierce, the band’s blond, floppy-haired, 27-year-old front man. “We were thinking of calling it Reflections of Summer instead.” That would have been a more apt title, as it gets at their weird but effective mash-up of genres: bouncy sixties surf rock meets moody eighties postpunk, with Shangri-Las-type backup vocals mixed in. The manic, irresistible “Saddest Summer” recalls the Housemartins and the Jam; “Don’t Be a Jerk, Johnny” channels New Order and the great girl groups; and “Submarine” is the B-52s doused in Morrissey melancholia. “We wanted to sound like Joy Division meets a beach-party record,” says Pierce, who has known guitarist Jacob Graham since they first met as kids at a Christian summer camp in Pennsylvania. They bonded over their shared obsession with the electro-pop band Joy Electric. “I had this Joy Electric T-shirt and Jacob literally started trembling and said, ‘Can I touch it?’ ” Pierce recalls. “I said, ‘Be careful.’ ” They decided to form a band just eight months ago, and had barely ever rehearsed before wowing the crowd in May at Cake Shop during NYC Popfest. All four members live together, with a wiry mutt named Harry, and even go jogging together, just like they do in the video for the frivolously delightful “Let’s Go Surfing.” None of them surfs; they just dig what it signifies. “We’re going for something simple and timeless,” says Pierce. “Nothing edgy or current or hip.”


Summertime!
The Drums.
Twentyseven Records. Sept. 15.


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