ALBUM REVIEW: Dralms / Shook

Vancouver based musician, Christopher Smith, blew us away with the first single from this album back in July that really hyped us up for his newest project’s debut album Shook and now that album is finally out.

Image via Boompa Records

The album opens up with the track “Usage” and it’s really a great way to introduce a listener to the album to come. Strong basslines and reverb soaked vocals accompanied by tranquil synths make for a great combination that really lets you get caught up within the song. The song keeps a calm feeling throughout instead of attempting to transition to something with more of a direct power, which I believe was a good choice to keep the entire song pretty low-key.

The album opens up with the track “Usage” and it’s really a great way to introduce a listener to the album to come. Strong basslines and reverb soaked vocals accompanied by tranquil synths make for a great combination that really lets you get caught up within the song. The song keeps a calm feeling throughout instead of attempting to transition to something with more of a direct power, which I believe was a good choice to keep the entire song pretty low-key.

The next track on the album is titled “Pillars and Pyres” it was one of the first songs we received from Dralms that served as some sort of a sample that was to come. Now finally, with an album surrounding it, it’s easy to see that Dralms hasn’t lost their way with sound but rather have kept to the same path they started on with their first release.

“Domino House” is the third track on the album and it starts with a harsher guitar that comes as sort as a surprise because of the contrast that it makes from the smooth synths and smoother guitar. The song does feel a bit choppy and it definitely isn’t one of my favorites on the album, but it still is a pretty decent song.

The fourth song on the album is titled “Divisions of Labor” and it opens with a nice little bassline that is later accompanied by some smooth drums. One thing that I’m really not a fan of with this song is a really awkwardly placed, trap-like drum that falls just before the chorus because it’s a sound that seems a bit out of character for the sound they have established. Despite that, the chorus that falls after it is pretty amazing and catchy. The song does struggle a bit in the verses for me and the chorus is definitely the best part of the song.

At the halfway point on the album, we’re greeted by the song “Shook” which we originally fell in love with back in July. (Read our original review here). The song is a dark and smooth song that captures the overall feel of the album perfectly into one song. Along with that, it’s so easy to find yourself getting lost somewhere between drum beats and smooth synths and you don’t want to be found anytime soon. It also feels strong both with and without the context of the album.

The next track on the album is “My Heart is in the Right Place” open up with a really nice sounding guitar. The song starts minimalistically but you can soon find it surrounding you with the soundscape it’s created. It’s another song that’s easy to get caught in a trance with the sounds that Dralms have created on the track.

“Objects of Affection” is the next track on the album and it feels like it was pulled straight from the soundtrack of a 80s drama film. Complete with saxophone part and a thick bassline to match, the song is timeless. The song is one of the most intense of the album and probably one of the top points on the album. With this, the track is definitely one of the highlights of the album.

The eighth track on the album is titled “Wholly Present” and it’s another song that has one of those nice and thick basslines but as soon as the vocals come in, it does feel a bit off, almost if one songs bassline was combined with a different song’s vocals. Even though it makes it feel a bit choppy, but later the song, things do come together to sound pretty nice.

As we inch towards the end of the album, “Game of Pricks” is our second to last track. It’s definitely one of the highlights of the album with some pretty amazing moments within it. It’s quite possibly my favorite song on the album because of how all of the elements of the song are so beautifully combined with one another and feel intertwined rather than just layered on top of one another.

The last song on the album is “Crushed Pleats” and it’s born from a perfect transition out of the previous song to the point that they almost feel like one song. It’s another one of my favorites to come from this album and I’m especially a fan of some organs that come in later on the track. The song really shows a perfectly executed growth from something small to something with a gigantic sound. It’s also a great way to end the album because of the way it leaves the listener satisfied with what they’ve heard yet leaves them wanting more.

Overall, Dralms has created an album that is extremely easy to lose yourself within, in the best way though. The album does have some weak points that bring the album down a bit but once you get past these, it’s a pretty enjoyable album. Another part of the album that was pretty interesting is that you think you know where the album is going but suddenly you take a left turn straight into somewhere completely different and I’m not saying it’s bad, but it is an interesting choice.

OVERALL, SHOOK GETS A 6/10

BUY THE ALBUM HERE

SEE DRALMS IN A CITY NEAR YOU:

11/18 – Port Theatre – Nanaimo, BC

11/19 – Alix Goolden Performance Hall – Victoria, BC

11/21 – Kelowna Community Theatre -Kelowna, BC

11/22 – Coast Hotel Kamloops Theatre – Kamloops, BC

11/24 – Southminister United Church – Lethbridge, AB

11/25 – Memorial Centre – Red Deer, AB

11/27 – Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre – Revelstoke, BC

11/30 – Birthdays – London, UK

12/05 – Sugarfactory – Amsterdam, Netherlands

12/07 – Freizeitzentrum West (FZW) – Dortmund, Germany

12/08 – Kantine am Berghain – Berlin, Germany

12/09 – Beatpol – Dresden, Germany

12/10 – Molotow – Hamburg, Germany

12/12 – Artheater Köln – Cologne, Germany

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