Drowner is a dream-pop/post-rock/shoegaze quartet from Houston. They’ve been around for only a couple of years, and they’re one of the emerging bands on the shoegaze and dream-pop label Saint Marie Records.
Although this song didn’t specifically come from the mailbag, my introduction to that Fort Worth, Texas-based label was because of a mailbag submission a couple of weeks ago. Since then, I’ve been loopy for that label and its amazing roster of bands.
It all started in about 2008, when guitarist Darren Emmanuel was trying out some new sounds in an effort to launch a side project from his other bands. He was in a dance-y electronic band called Swimming In, and a jazzy, trip-hoppy band called Apples To Earth. I’ve never heard either of those bands, and my description of them is based entirely on what I’ve read. Emmanuel wanted to do something that accentuated his growing fascination with the shoegaze revival of the late aughts, and that project eventually became Drowner. He brought in a full band, including his longtime friend Anna Bouchard on vocals.
Bouchard and Emmanuel both cite The Cure, My Bloody Valentine, Mogwai and REM as influences, and they wanted Drowner to showcase those influences.
Tonight’s song is a slow burn. It’s a longish 7:39, and in a Stereolab kind of way, its greatness is in that slow burn. A 30 second sample could never begin to do justice to the magnificent vibe that’s slowly built by the song.
This is that song
“Never Go Away” by Drowner
Right from the drop, I’m hooked by the dreamy, wavy guitar bits and the well-placed tuned percussion. While tuned percussion certainly tugs at my heartstrings, the glockenspiel or xylophone or whatever isn’t even my favorite thing about this song. Drowner is doing everything right, and it’s the big picture that I like so much.
That said, I like how every time they get to the chorus, another sonic texture is added. It keeps getting bigger, louder, more effects-laden. More cacophonous. That’s another way to tug at a different set of heartstrings. The slow burn, the gradual build to the crushing blow at 5:09. My point is that without the quiet, airy bits, without that slow build, that crescendo means nothing.
Drowner is a beautiful record, and I’ll suggest that you buy a physical copy from the Saint Marie web store here. You can also get a digital version of the album via bandcamp. Or any of the legal downloading places such as eMusic.