New Music To Know: Drowners Do it All For Love on Self-Titled Debut

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(Pete Voelker for Frenchkiss Records)

(Pete Voelker for Frenchkiss Records)

By Courtney E. Smith

It’s a tale as old as time: boy moves from small-town England to New York City, boy falls in love—both with the city and the girls who live there—boy forms a band and the rest is history. Or, at least in the case of the Drowners, a history in the making.

Frontman Matthew Hitt initially got a job as a guitar teacher here in the States, but after spending some time going back and forth, he realized he was getting bored with Britain.

“Well not bored,” Hitt told, correcting himself. “I just sort of fell out with it for a bit. I don’t know, New York seemed more exciting to me…I would go out all the time. I basically went out every night for the first six months I lived here. And I met [the band members] out. It was all oddly easy.”

Though they met in a bar, the band—Hitt, Jack Ridley III, Erik Lee Snyder, and Lakis E. Pavlou—actually prides itself on having a work ethic rarely matched in the rock world.

“Most of the lads I’d meet were all talk, no trousers. Things would never materialize,” Hitt recalls. “Whereas these guys were like, ‘Alright, what time are we meeting up?’ Willingness to work was the main reason [we clicked].”

With their recently released self-titled debut, Drowners have created one of those debut albums—like the Libertines and the Strokes before them—that rockists love to love. One part jangly guitar riffs à la The Smiths and one part disheveled punk, the record is a testament to the band’s transatlantic influences.

The songs on the album, starting with lead single “Luv, Hold Me Down,” have this way of feeling like fully realized ideas that could musically fall apart at any moment. It’s a cultural merger that Hitt credits to his bandmates being more influenced by the ramshackle New York punks while he’s of the slightly more intellectual British school.

“Luv, Hold Me Down,” like many of the songs on the album, is about girls and relationships. In fact, relationships are lyrically examined in every scenario imaginable on this record. Hitt says some are from real experiences, while others are characters in made-up situations.

But with all this talk of love, does Hitt ever worry about what the next girl might think after listening to one of his songs?

“That’s what preoccupies my mind,” Hitt laughs. “The thing about starting a band is, you only initially ever think your mates are going to listen to it. All of a sudden your album’s out and there’s some a**hole in Los Angeles that’s never met you talking crap about you. I didn’t really consider it, it wasn’t the thought, but a lot of bands I like write about women. They’re normally at the forefront of my brain.”

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