Drugstore

Drugstore

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

After a slew of singles that won praise for their smoky and sweet feelings of Jesus and Mary Chain/Mazzy Star strung-out psych-and-bliss late-night atmosphere, Drugstore went ahead and created an album that lived up to those expectations. But that's a too simplistic comparison in some ways, thanks largely to the inspired singing from bassist Isabel Monteiro. A just-confrontational-enough character in interviews, that quality carries over to her recorded work as well, able to hit aggressive points more than Hope Sandoval ever could and unafraid of not always being cool like the Reid brothers. No trace of her Brazilian accent surfaces -- if anything she sounds like she could be a cross between Patsy Cline and Marianne Faithfull, with all the ability and control that implies. Consider "Alive" as a particularly fine example, her simple conclusion of "I am burning" suiting the circular feedback loop and hint of violin that concludes the track, or the low-key backing vocals overdubs on the hushed "Saturday Sunset." As a group, Drugstore clearly has its inspirations, but the result is thoroughly attractive while retaining a strong sense of individual drama. Guitarist/keyboardist Daron Robinson knows how to crank it up and keep it calm, and while it becomes something of a formula by the end of the disc, it still works very well. Call it a sense of loud/soft dynamics in a different setting, rather than repeating the obvious Pixies/Nirvana conclusions so many other '90s bands ground into the dust. "Favorite Sinner" is a fantastic example of same, with a soft sense of building threat as Chris Isaak-styled reverb twang turns into a slow burning feedback frazz and retreating again before an abrupt ending. "Solitary Party Groover" and the wonderful "Starcrossed" received the most attention due to their appearance as singles, but this whole album is an excellent, quietly enveloping treat.

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