Don’t discount The Drambles. A sparse Bandcamp, limited social media presence, and abstruse name do not adequately represent the quartet’s deft sonic-punch and elastic energy. The four bandmates, seniors at UC Berkeley, have clicked into a sound altogether impressive for its immediate spark and authoritative informality.
Despite being full-time undergraduates, the band has kept themselves active, releasing their first studio demo back in September and playing shows regularly in the Berkeley/Oakland area, ranging from student co-operatives to local venues such as Leo’s. While their recording output is relatively thin, The Drambles have build a solid reputation in their hometown as an impressive live ensemble, and are seeking to expand beyond the East Bay this Wednesday with their first performance in San Francisco at the Honey Hive Gallery.
Anthony Stavrianoudakis and Michael Bigham are The Drambles’ dual guitarists and vocalists, the former’s murky drawl providing a symbiotic contrast to the latter’s more animated delivery. Meanwhile holding down the group’s tight rhythmic core are bassist Richard Adelstein and drummer Jamie Aylward, who provide their songs with simultaneously a spirited step and a bulky stomp.
The band dubs themselves slacker-rock/sofa-pop, but don’t mistake that description as an indication of lazy songwriting or disaffection. The Drambles are highly expressive in their casual aura, and at times their music underscores a real sense of urgency. While they have not put out a full-length release yet, you’ll want to be in the know when they do.
Lyrically the band lies on the border of the psychedelic and the everyday — with donut shops, romance, and centaurs all weaved into single narrative threads. They approach existence from a distance, even as they are planted squarely in the middle of it. Stavrianoudakis captures that universal tendency to imagine the surrounding world without using reality as a reference most succinctly with the line “Just close my eyes/And dream about real life.”
That lyric comes from “Cajoling,” which places a Strokes-esque lead adjacent to hazy stoner-rock sensibilities before whipping up a striking aural hurricane at the midway point that collapses into a soothing aftermath. It absolutely slays live. The Drambles pull off ambitious seven-minute epics like “Cajoling” with ease, but my personal favorite track by the band is the comparably mild “Please Somehow Take My Mind Off Things,” with its jangly and gentle rhythms supporting an alluringly informal earworm. “Can’t Shake” is probably the most immediate of The Drambles brief-but-great output, with Bigham at his most worked up over nearly four minutes of constant riffage.
Those soon-to-be-hits are all in regular rotation at The Drambles’ pleasantly noisy live performances. Don’t miss out on your chance to see them play their first gig across the Bay this Wednesday, and in the meantime you can learn everything you need to know about The Drambles by watching their official documentary, produced by Stavrianoudakis himself.
Boychick, The Drambles, Dani Bell & the Tarantist
The Honey Hive Gallery
December 16th, 2015
Doors at 6:30 ($10)