Drawing Boards - 'The Message' - 12" vinyl & CD
On The Message, New York quartet Drawing Boards glaze earworm alt-pop melody with a summer-evening haze of overdriven guitar and languid vocals. Imbued with a strip mall nostalgia, the record radiates warmth like sunset asphalt. Veering from propulsive indie shamble to surf-noise squall, The Message is utterly charming and weird in all the best ways.
The album—the band’s second full-length—charts a postmillennial interpretation of the Heroes’ Journey. “These songs are about living in a city full of noise and needing an escape from it,” lead singer-guitarist Aaron Pfannebecker says. “Finding that escape in love, losing that love and retreating. Then healing/unhealing and starting all over again.” Some of the tracks relate the retreat any courage-tested explorer falls prey to. In some, questions are asked, facts parsed, and accusations thrown (“your mom is a fish” may take the cake). Other terrain includes adulation of Carrie Fisher, kofta curry, and Roberto Clemente.
Pfannebecker (Sisters) started putting tunes to tape on a Tascam 4-track in his garage at age 15 and never stopped. He met drummer-vocalist Doug Marvin (Dirty On Purpose) when they were both in bands based out of Death By Audio. The duo started recording together as Drawing Boards and released their self-titled debut album in 2018. To realize the songs live, the pair enlisted bassist-vocalist Jane Herships (TEEN) and Peter Rynsky (Darlings) on guitars and noise.
With the quartet playing out across the boroughs, The Message was destined to be different. “This record was written and played completely in a band setting” explains Pfannebecker, “whereas the previous one was a bunch of pieces held together with Scotch tape.” Writing took place at the group’s old Williamsburg practice space (now condos), at homes in Ridgewood, and in Pfannebecker’s Western Massachusetts home town. Engineer Justin Pizzoferrato (Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, Parquet Courts) recorded the fully-wrought songs at his own Sonelab Studios in Easthampton, Mass., capturing the group’s enchanting songwriting and its thrilling chemistry. Now The Message is yours.
“Dreamy indie rock that is equally adept with heavenly harmonies as burst of noise. ... If you're a fan of classic '90s indie rock and shoegaze -- be it Pavement, Dinosaur Jr, My Bloody Valentine, Yo La Tengo and even Britpop like Blur -- the very catchy songs on The Message should appeal.” — BrooklynVegan