Around a decade ago, the term emo meant little more than fringes and overwrought teen angst. Thankfully it’s gone through some healthy gentrification since then, reverting back to its more rustic, indie-rock-infused style. That’s why 2016 has been such a banner year for the genre, and the good fortune continues with ‘Cool’, the debut album from Kent duo Drawstring.
And just like fellow Kent natives Moose Blood, Drawstring seem to also worship at the altars of Brand New and Jimmy Eat World. Be it the roughed-up fuzz of the title track or the wistful shimmer of ‘Way Home’, the touchstones are laid bare, and they’re executed really well. It’s not all that groundbreaking, but Drawstring clearly know how to work with what they’ve got.
That being said, the whole thing does have the potential to teeter, like on the ‘Way Home reprise ‘They Know I’m Not Okay’ that lurches into distortion-fuelled nothingness. These can easily be dismissed as teething problems though, given how much the likes of ‘School’ or ‘Chicago Town’ succeed with their infectious but complex melodies.
And plus, it’s easier to view ‘Cool’ for its positives than its negatives. After all, it does everything right for an emo album in 2016, and there’s really nothing wrong with that. And as inessential as it may seem (and in truth, with the amount of quality emo this year it kind of is), it’s still decent in its own right, and as something for completionists to seek out, there’s a lot to like here.
‘Cool’ by Drawstring is out now on Beth Shalom Records.
Words by Luke Nuttall (@nuttall_luke)