Drug Rug

Paint the Fence Invisible

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Two years after the release of their self-titled debut album, Drug Rug haven't changed their approach much, but they have genuinely gotten better at it. On their sophomore effort, Paint the Fence Invisible, Drug Rug's lo-fi indie pop sounds a bit more polished (far from slick, but clearly more assured), the melodies are better served by the ensemble playing, and Sarah Cronin has gained much better control over her vocals than she did on the group's first record, both in her harmonies with Tommy Allen and when she steps up to sing lead (though she still sounds plenty rambunctious compared to her partner, especially on the uptempo "Hannah, Please"). While the players backing up Allen and Cronin shift from track to track, the leaders have been able to give Paint the Fence Invisible an admirable consistency, and if the group's approach deliberately leans to a casual, homemade vibe, the album has charm to spare and the songwriting is great. Most of the songs are built around light but sturdy pop melodies delivered with breezy enthusiasm, though the ambitious "Noah Rules" features a more expansive and moody tone (complete with jarring sound effects), while the title track is a spare, atmospheric recording featuring just Cronin's voice and a guitar that closes the album on a haunting but intimate note. While Paint the Fence Invisible seems rather modest on the surface, in terms of both songwriting and confidence in the studio, it shows Drug Rug building on the lessons learned from their earlier recordings, and the result is a playful but surprisingly accomplished fusion of Brian Wilson, Galaxie 500, and the Elephant 6 collective bringing their tunes to life with a joy that may feel slightly naïve, but never fails to hit the right notes.

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