The year is past it's medium, and the music we've been graced with thus far has been for the most part, fairly awful. The yearly collective of new talent that often keeps the engine running in this industry has certainly been a bit stagnant, and with the major players disappointing more than not, the hope for a respectable year in music now lies heavily on the latter half. Yet, in a year like this — A "down" year — often some of the best music flies under the radar, slipping by unnoticed as the critics are blinded by clouds of frustration. A good example of such a inconspicuous act would be that of DRMS, the Oakland natives who have struck tone in the Indie spectrum with charming typicality.
Their self-titled debut is a fine collection of works, and while it is certainly nothing for the history books, the moments of brilliance it presents point towards a band with a bright future that is still finding it's footing. Tracks like the single "With You" and "Take Me" epitomize the bands up-beat feel, as would the entire album if not for a subtle complaint of length here an there.
Ironically, the most powerful track for me was the opening "Intro", which is a remarkably simple tune that rides off of a minimalistic piano melody, starkly contrasts the rest of the album's ensemble-esk approach. Its stand-alone instrumental (which is no jab at Emily's beautiful vocals) provides a sort of closure for the listener that much of the album fails to, setting a tone for the rest of the record with a sound that is almost never revisited but for subtle, backing-melodic purposes.
If one were to take the album and pick the climactic minute-and-a-half of each song, the album would sound more or less flawless, full energy and flamboyance. The single downfall of the album is the aforementioned length of some of the tracks, droning on for an unnecessary minute or so that forces anyone but the most attentive listener to lose interest. This is perhaps best exemplified by the second track "White Eyes", which is arguable one of the strongest on the album for the first three and a half minutes. It's not the beginning of the song, or any of the songs that's the issue — it's that last minute or so, best compared to that of The Dark Knight, where the closing stanza is certainly not bad, but a bit unwarranted. It's this flaw that finds the track(s) endings losing the captivating quality they begin with to a repetitive finish that pushes the listener away rather than sealing the deal.
Then again, length is a beautiful thing when approached with the right mind set, and if you go into this album with the outlook that a bit of jamming will be envolved, rather than expecting a composition comprised of singles, you may find your attention and your satisfaction slightly less unenthused than mine. The album is truly a solid work, and considering it is the opening act in what will likely be a long and illustrious career for this group, it is certainly a collection to be proud of. DRMS does a fine job of not allowing anyone to stick them into a category, and the talent of the brain behind the work (Rob Shelton), combined with the delightful vocals of Emily Ritz, create a truly refreshing sound in this overplayed and bland musical year.