The new album from Drugdealer is called Raw Honey, a title that makes me think of both the Raw Power album from Iggy and the Stooges, and the "Just Like Honey" single from The Jesus and Mary Chain. Drugdealer sounds almost nothing like either of those legends and yet there's something here that suggests a similar approach to rock-and-roll, a path that combines Mr. Osterberg's all or nothing approach to embracing a style, and the Reid Brothers' knack for appropriating pieces of the past in the service of some new form of pop The tunes here on Raw Honey, out on Friday via Mexican Summer, are big throwback charmers, and yet they are still indications of a new approach to all of this.
It's sort of a collective at work here on Raw Honey, a record engineered by Mac DeMarco. And that connection, along with the fact that the players were loosely associated with Ariel Pink, indicates the sort of indie-pop one can hear on Raw Honey, with even opener "You've Got To Be Kidding" becoming a retro-futuristic work-out, the sort that sounds like the soundtrack of an old sci-fi flick, while the supple "Honey" is given over to the command of Natalie Mering (AKA Weyes Blood). The number is some blend of Laura Nyro-style chords with the kind of slide guitar licks one would have found on a George Harrison record in the early Seventies. And rather than sound like a lark, the cut works spectacularly. Elsewhere, "Wild Motion", featuring vocalist Dougie Poole, imagines Roy Orbison doing a solo Lennon composition. It's an odd but affecting number, the sort of thing that, briefly, sounds like the players are having a goof until it kicks in and transports a listener into the stratosphere. Lush and decidedly over the top, it's perhaps my favorite track here on this record.
There are moments here on Raw Honey, like the laconic "Fools", that feel like the band is trying too hard to adopt an MOR persona. However, there's also a lot on Raw Honey that is genuinely beautiful and affecting. With a huge cast of players, including Ben Schwab from the much-loved by this blog Golden Daze, Drugdealer succeed far more than than fail here on this record.
Raw Honey is out on Friday via Mexican Summer.
More details on Drugdealer via the band's official Facebook page.
[Photo: Richard Quintero]