If you thought emo was dead and buried, it’s time to think again. It’s alive and well and living in Kent in the form of a teenage duo, Drawstring. They may be impossible to google and named after a bag but that hasn’t done Clutch any harm.
One is a cassette and download re-release of their first demo from last year. If I were to tell you that their last demo was called Three, you can probably guess the name of their second one. Some might see the numerical naming system as lazy, unimaginative, or wantonly soviet but I’m a fan of this approach. Whether it’s Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath albums or Bombay Bicycle Club’s demos, it makes it easy to establish a listening order.
Drawstring’s previous demos are freely available on Bandcamp and it’s well worth listening to them in order to hear the young pair grow in stature and confidence, as well as ability. They spent last week in the studio recording their debut album and if they continue to evolve as they have thus far, then it will be a killer.
The four tracks of One zip-by in nine minutes yet they don’t sound rushed. Each song sounds complete and there is enough breathing space and variation of tone and tempo to give the demo a full-bodied feel. Drawstring are proper post-Fugazi emo, pulling no punches and landing some killer blows.
The lyrics are half-buried under the guitar assault and One sounds all the better for it. The bands singing voices are adequate if not spectacular but there’s a quare bit of screaming that really gets the heart pumping. These four songs are very raw and sound like a band feeling out their own abilities.
The vocals are weak and unsure in contrast to the delivery on later demos. The raw materials are there and the hammer-ons of ‘Chicago town’ and the stop-start riffing of ‘Nothing’ foreshadow Drawstring’s later exploits on the more accomplished Three. They sound like a stoned young Biffy Clyro.
One represents Drawstrings’ first record for Beth Shalom Records. It is more notable for the potential on display than as a quality release in its own right so it is a surprising choice for re-issue. As an introduction of the band to a wider audience, it is less than ideal but it will nonetheless bring greater attention to the band as they look like they will be bringing out more accomplished material in the near future. One is an exhilarating and addictive listen and serves as a great aperitif for their forthcoming debut album. One is available here.