On Brutalism, the fifth LP from The Drums a lot is different. It is quite possibly the best collection of songs
in the band's ten-year career. The album is defined by growth, transformation and questions, but It doesn't
provide all the answers. Brutalism is a form of simplistic architecture defined by blocks of raw concrete.
Brutalism is rooted in an emotional rawness but its layers are soft, intricate and warm, full of frivolous and
exquisitely crafted pop songs that blast sunlight and high energy in the face of anxiety, solitude and
crippling self-doubt.
In 2017, The Drums put out its first record as a solo project. Abysmal Thoughts belonged to Jonny Pierce
alone. It discussed his painful divorce. Since, he has returned to New York and now lives between there
and LA. “I felt my work in LA was done. I was exhausted, depleted and sabotaging myself, partying so
much but in reality running away from pain. It was a downward spiral.” He wanted to deal with unresolved
facets of his relationship with himself so he did therapy. “It was do or die,” he says. “Figuring out what it is
that makes me happy, and acknowledging that I deal with depression.” He looks at Brutalism as an
extension of self-care. “In order to take care of yourself you have to ask questions. Those are the things I
needed to confront. It's interesting talking about the past, dealing with things that are long overdue. I'm
delivering something unsure and unclear.”
Even the fact that Brutalism sounds intentional, focused and efficient is a symbol of how Pierce's
prioritizing of his own health and wellbeing has bled into how he makes music. For the making of this
album, between his lake house in Upstate New York and a studio in Stinson Beach, California, Pierce was
more open than ever, keeping his control freakery at bay, working with others to produce and record the
album. He brought in Chris Coady (Beach House, Future Islands, Amen Dunes) to mix it. If there was a
guitar part he wanted to write but couldn't play, he brought in a guitarist. It's also the first Drums record
with a live drummer. Delegating freed up Pierce's time to produce a more specific vision.

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