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The Drowning Men
All Of The Unknown
Borstal Beat Records
www.thedrowningmen.com


I love mandolins. So hearing one after only a few moments of the first song on The Drowning Men's new album All Of The Unknown automatically told me I had to give this band a good listen.

"Lost In A Lullaby" is like Mumford & Sons and Flogging Molly in a blender. Slim on the melodies but heavy on the power are vocals that give off a rousing speech feeling and mix well with the repetitive marching band percussion beats that keep the song going. One place you'd never imagine a rock album to take you is a carnival, but when the sound effects of a carousel start the song "Bored In A Belly", that's exactly where you go. The basic rhythm from that sound effect carries through via an electric keyboard, but the base of the song is filled with a lead guitar finessing some great classic rock chords and a few bass harmonies chiming in. Every once in a while you can hear a Theremin pop up, a sound that only adds to the whole theme of it all.

One of the most impressive intros can be found in "Questioning (A Big Ole Sham)". A guitar strum echoes while lead notes are danced across and a snare drum is used to create a rumbling thunder effect. Harmonizing guitars eventually begin repeating the same progression, letting the Vampire Weekend-esque vocals be heard. And then all chaos breaks loose for each chorus when all the instruments thrash out their notes and the vocals turn to an almost shout. "I ask the ruler" becomes a softly repeated phrase that, when paired with a few simple chord progressions, provides a nice pause to that craziness. For the final song on the record we're taken back to that carnival, but this time with a very simplistic music box melody on the piano. Vocals jump between loud proclamations and delicate whispers all the while complimenting the piano nicely. Though the lyrics speak of going somewhere better, one can't help but feel their heart break slightly with the somber tone.

The Drowning Men offer a ton of variety on their new album and while you should be able to find something you enjoy, you may not be able to find more than one.

-Rachel Fredrickson

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