Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Aug. 11, 2006
Jubilee Dive (New West)
Slobberbone may be dearly departed, but the Drams, as evidenced by their debut, Jubilee Dive, are worthy replacements. Singer-songwriter Brent Best, 'Bone guitarist Jess Barr, and drummer Tony Harper are joined by keyboard player Chad Stockslager and bassist Keith Killoren, both from Dallas-area band Budapest One, for a vigorous new direction that seems like a natural progression instead of a hairy left turn. The addition of keys and harmonies allows Best to explore musical ideas he only dreamed of with his previous band. While there's still a hint of rootsiness to the Drams, "Truth Lies Low" possesses an airiness that's distinctive, while "Fireflies" is an infectious bit of Sixties-style power pop, and "You Won't Forget" bears a Beatlesque middle section with strings and horns that's completely unexpected. At more than 65 minutes, Jubilee Dive could use editing; several songs near the seven-minute mark and the dirgelike "Holy Moses" and gimmicky "Wonderous Life" seem massively overdone. Still, it's an impressive debut. The name of the band is only slightly better than the last one, but Best's talents as a songwriter have never been this cohesive and vivid.