Album Reviews

The Drug Models Love – Slow Hope Parade

(Trap) UK release date: 24 August 2009

Andrew Dobson, this is Geoff Smith. Geoff, have you met Kevin McGinnis?

Introductions seem appropriate here, as these three night owl composers (who prefer the musical monikersDigitonal, Loner and The Drug Models Love,respectively) all sound as though they could use some good company.

McGinnis, like his nocturnal contemporaries,specialises in the late-night introspection and the particular kind of solitude that follows the show, the party, the bender.Electronic rhythms, pulsing at a resting heart rate, underscorevarious forms of instrumentation, which is typically bathed inwavering amounts of reverb – all designed to represent the artists’witching hour reflections on their feelings and experiences.

Clearly, much has changed in the 55 years that have passed sinceFrank Sinatra marvelously shared his late-night laments on themelancholic jazz masterpiece In The Wee Small Hours.

Fortunately, on Slow Hope Parade, McGinnis does well to distinguishhimself a bit from the sad rat pack. With it being the responsibilityof the artist to communicate and impress upon the listener the mood heor she wishes to evoke – a tall order, especially for those unfamiliarwith the exploits being addressed – it is fitting to note that TheDrug Models Love pulls off the immersion quite well.

Take Sometimes A City Streetm. It uses sinister sequences of fuzzed guitars and shimmering, synthesizedtones to portray the attempts of McGinnis’s mates to get him to join themon yet another hedonistic splurge. It’s apparently, an oft-pursueddiversion, as examples of McGinnis having “used to lie, passed out,under a cloud” are apparently meant to influence his decision.

He’llhave none of that this time, though. Although he admits that thestreets can bring him peace, he silences the others and orders them toleave. Suggesting success, the tune morphs into a soothing stringserenade, with the underlying beat echoing harmlessly underneath – thebeckoning, indulgent deeds of the evening have been dismissednicely.

Acoustic and electric guitars are transformed into lush, celestiallamentations, meant to empathise with, comfort and praise therecently rejected on Palm Satellites. Meanwhile shades of earlyBlack Rebel Motorcycle Club (especially evident given thepresentation of McGinnis’s voice) are embossed upon the lusciously slyopener Wrapped Up in Honey.

In actuality, the keen representation of desolation ultimatelyhinders the album. The titular track, which speaks of the bleakfuture that awaits those quite willing to sacrifice sobriety, meandersendlessly. The result is a droning evocation of feelings that are byno means enjoyable. Even the finer selections on the album tend to,at times, stumble into fits of indirection.

Having been affiliated with artists such as Guided ByVoices, it is without doubt that McGinnis has seen plenty ofevenings drenched in depressants. It is the believability of thealbum that shines through McGinnis’s work, even if the result is notalways pleasing. In spite of its occasional drudgery, the resultantwork feels real.

Digitonal and Loner should take note, for the verisimilitude of TheDrug Models Love is worthy of being followed. Join the parade,gentlemen, and, damn it, get some sleep.

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