The Null Device
The Guardian reviews the new album by The Drums (the NYC86 band everybody's comparing to The Field Mice), isn't that impressed:
Of course, to spurn the big, bad adult world in 1986 was implicitly political, hence C86's spiritual influence on riot grrrl and the Manic Street Preachers. It came with manifestos and passionate values. The Drums, however, echo only the sound and the wilful naivety. In interviews they champion "melody, sincerity and truthfulness" – a formulation so bland that you might hear from anyone from Noel Gallagher to Nick Clegg – and grumble about bands who are "overly clever", as if music's biggest handicap in 2010 were a surfeit of intellect.
But the Drums' charm is spread rather too thinly. Too many songs kick in with the same brisk, toytown beat and thin, high guitars. Like one C86 influence, the Groove Farm, who knew roughly as much about grooving as they did about farming, the Drums belie their name with a prosaic rhythm section that does little more than keep time. Pierce's little-boy-lost vocals begin to grate as well: just the way he sings "li-i-i-i-i-i-ife" on I Need Fun in My Life is enough to make you fantasise about bringing back conscription. Real teenagers tend to be turbulent, questing, contradictory, but the Drums' prelapsarian ideal seems to be a lovesick simpleton.
A new frontrunner has emerged in Colombia's presidential elections: Antanas Mockus, a former academic and two-time mayor of Bogotá whose terms in power there were characterised by a sort of surrealist urbanism (previously). While Mayor, he inaugurated voluntary women-only nights in the city's streets, deployed mimes to mock those flouting traffic rules and issued citizens with thumbs-up and thumbs-down cards for commenting on others' behaviour. Mockus is running for the Presidency under the banner of the Green Party, and has attracted an Obama/Clegg-style following of young voters, who have joined the campaign with another kind of surrealist intervention, the flash mob.