Hushed like a sonic explosion billions of miles outside the atmosphere, and steeped in a stoned comatose of the nerves, Hampshire trio Drug Store Romeos encapsulate an existential liberation in their newest single “Vibrate,” off their latest album, The world within our bedrooms.
The overall record – largely rendered out of the title itself – serves to extend the mind’s limit past a muted psyche to a 3 AM out-of-body transcendence. In other words, imagine yourself lying on your bed in a late night’s rest, drowsily peering up at your ceiling to find it opened up like a window, releasing you to a close-up view of the cosmos. Your body, now feeling weightless, floats up, up, up until nothing but the technicolor swirls of shooting stars and meteor showers surround you in a contented solitude with the universe. That, in a nutshell, is The world within our bedrooms, and it is an experience worth withstanding.
Not many artists are capable of combining the sense of the natural world with technological insight the way that this group does. Multiple tempo and rhythmic changes infused in the tracks act like scenes in a dream, only to be juxtaposed with Sarah Downie’s cut and paste wordplay that gives the songs a captivating trajectory.
One example of this, out of many, is illustrated in “Vibrate”, where Jonny Gilbert’s heavy drum beat haze and Charlie Henderson’s low bass rumble alternate with a faster hi-hat flutter and an airy synth meander. All the while, Downie recites the words, “Vibrate/ Correlate/ Translate/ Dissonance” through a vaporous sheath. It’s unexpected and innovatively invigorating, just like a dozing midnight fantasy.
The band knows how to make their sound stand out by resorting to a less-is-more approach full of subtle textures and hypnotic elements of a new realm. Like in “Feedback Loop” and “Walking Talking Marathon”, where automated drum beats and arpeggios set the foundation and create quiet space for melting guitars and animated vocals. The drifting sway of “Kites” folds in tweeting birds and rustling ocean waves, while “Put Me On the Finish Line” makes room for bubbling synths and spiraling washes.
As much as they favor a subdued but tranquil strength in some songs, Drug Store Romeos are still just as strikingly resounding and involved in others. Climactic arrangements of euphoria are best highlighted in tracks like “Adult Glamour” and “What’s On Your Mind”, which showcases sublime drum work and deeply nostalgic intensity. “Frame of Reference” also radiates in an electronically stimulating, rarely shimmering groove that is entirely unique to any other track on the record.
Something like this can only come from extreme chemistry and understanding between the three members. They know how to uphold the group individually, while maintaining a solid, multidimensional unit that’s as visually enticing as it is verbal. Whatever they have to thank for finding each other, it’s clear that they were supposed to regardless, and The world within our bedrooms gives us everything we need to take that leap into the Drug Store Romeos’ consciously expansive gateway.