Just keep swimming
People might not know them, but the Seattle-based band The Drowns should be on people’s punk playlist. The band released their second full-length album, Under Tension earlier this year. The album is produced by Ted Hutt, responsible for fan-favorite bands Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly and Gaslight Anthem. With a producer like that, fans can have high expectations. The 11-track long album lasts only 36 minutes, so most songs get to the point quick and straight forward.
“Black Lung” starts off the album. Classic punk rock sounds mixed with raspy vocals invite people to mosh around, preferably in a pub or bar, but that will not happen anytime soon, so alone at home should be enough. “Them Rats” seems almost to predict the future and reflects people’s current state. “If we’re not first swallowed by society, this human virus will die without the cure we need.” The song is filled with harsh criticism towards society today and the last couple of years in general. The song cleverly channels the anxiety and depression that many feel these days with the bread that it’s only getting worse, not better.
Softer vocals and an almost ska sound mixed with American Celtic punk await with “Wolves on The Throne.” Don’t be fooled by the uplifting sound; the lyrics are just as dark as before. With “Hold Fast,” the band shifts pace once again. The beat is slightly slower and darker than before, but the chorus definitely invites the listener to shout along. “One More Pint” is this feel-good-working-class-drinking song that now hits different, so raise one’s glass for their favorite bar.
“Demons” has another switch in vocals, leading to a considerable sound change. The lines “We all need to unwind/ And drown our demons in cheap wine” is a big mood. The song is easy enough to sing along to, making the song a little highlight on this album. There is no time wasted on “Wastin’ Time.” The first upbeat love-ish song. The rest of the songs like “Cue the Violin,” “The Harder They Come,” “The Unknown” and “Battery Street” continue the style the band has established.
Did The Drowns invent some new sound? No, but nobody expected them to do so. Under Tension is a solid punk album, following in the footsteps of bands like Dropkick Murphys. People can hear the band really put their heart into this record, and it pays off.