Playing things safe has never been The Drink’s philosophy. Throughout the trio’s evolution, their gloriously off-kilter guitar pop melodies and lyrical curiosities have commanded attention - and on brand new album Capital, they’re pushing the boundaries even further, eschewing meticulous planning in favour of instinct across even more wondrously intriguing tracks. “Capital can mean a lot of things” explains Galway born singer Dearbhla Minogue. "But it always has a gravity wherever it crops up. It brings to mind subtle or intangible force.”
Taking their celebration of controlled chaos out of the city (the trio all now reside in London), and into the Yorkshire countryside, Capital was recorded in a converted pig farm just outside Sheffield and is the next intrepid step in The Drink’s defiant rolling trajectory. The band’s ‘debut’ album Company was compiled from their first three EPs, received praise across the music press and set off twelve months of touring that culminated in a BBC 6music session for Marc Riley, support slots with Toro Y Moi and invites to the Green Man and End Of The Road festivals this summer. Whilst most would put writing a follow-up on hold to fulfil their live duties, that simply wasn’t an option: “We wanted to move on fast after Company, without that momentum-sapping two-year gap between albums,” explains bassist David Stewart.
With drummer Daniel Fordham completing the line-up, if there’s one thing Capital has, it’s momentum. Through skewed time signatures and rapid key changes, whether drawing influences from krautrock (see the hypnotic ‘Like A River’ and ‘No Memory’s motorik drones) to girl group harmonics (Dearbhla’s cherubic falsetto on ‘Roller’ and ‘I’ll Never Make You Cry’), time on tour has given the trio the chance to develop their impressive sound, giving way to a natural confidence and chemistry that has found its way into Capital’s song-writing. ‘Potter’s Grave’, in particular, highlights the album’s wonderfully strange collision between beautiful fragments of melody and lyrical imagery.
With a style that deftly evokes feeling over understanding, Dearbhla’s lyrics provide emotion to an uninhibited stream of unconsciousness, whether conjuring up references to dreams and sleep, or to nature, inspired by the folk songs she used to listen to and the poetry of Ted Hughes, Dylan Thomas, and her great uncle Frank Thompson. “I wrote ‘No Memory’s’ phrase 'dreaming of a green field' after a flashbulb dream about the green fields back home... but I think a lot of my lyrical references to nature are allegorical to how far away from their own nature people have to behave now, in order to survive.”
Mixed and mastered by Tobias Warwick Jones, Capital exhibits the band’s appreciation of artists from The Modern Lovers to Rory Gallagher. The result is a record that transcends its predecessor, bolstered by playful danceability. Take the disco-infused ‘You Won't Come Back At All’, born from a night out dancing in Whitechapel, whilst lead track ‘The Coming Rain’ is the result of years spent listening to Kenyan Ayub Ogada. Elsewhere the nervy blues guitar sound of ‘Hair Trigger’ and ‘Like A River’ are driven by what Dearbhla calls a 'got-to-catch-my-train feel’. “We only found the right guitar sound about an hour before I had to leave for my train and I wanted to record as many tracks as possible with that sound. It was a bit down to the wire but it’s given the record an energy we wouldn't have otherwise had” she says.
Between them, the band members have other projects; Dearbhla continues to play in The Wharves and Shield Your Eyes, whose guitarist Stef Ketteringham has hugely influenced Dearbhla’s playing. Daniel has recently collaborated with award-winning short-story writer Stuart Evers, creating soundscapes inspired by the writer’s latest collection, Your Father Sends His Love.
“The band has shape-shifted as a sort of evolving unit into something which is now a bit less cerebral and more instinctive. We always knew it was more than the sum of its parts from the beginning, but I don't think any of us expected to be improvising takes in the studio.” Showcasing Dearbhla’s beguiling lyrics, Capital is the sound of The Drink harnessing their groove and moving their sound to new, unexplored places.