What’s not to like about glockenspiels, handclaps and bells? With the Believe You Me EP, Drops has created a perfect summer salad: music that sounds lovely when played at an outdoor picnic and puts everyone into a good mood. It’s a short one ~ six tracks breeze by in 20 minutes, including two remixes ~ but the goodwill it inspires keeps going long after the EP has ended.
EP opener “You Have My Word” is the standout cut, later tackled by Message to Bears, another artist with a similarly positive tone. The original version showcases lovely acoustic guitar, handclaps, cooing and a bass beat. The cries of happy children imply that the party is in full session. Perhaps there is a sprinkler going, or a backyard pool is open; perhaps a game of horseshoes. The track shares the upbeat tone exuded by the bands Balmorhea and Nodding By the Fire. Message to Bears tones down the more obvious elements and adds strings for a more melancholy, but no less appealing feel.
“Star Map” is a bit more serious in tone, but only in the sense that a potato salad is more serious than a fruit salad. We’ve now reached the mellow, “I’m so glad we’re friends” part of the picnic, when the adults are on their second drinks, watching their children play together and feeling grateful that life has brought them to this place. A late-song chant adds a sing-a-long vibe.
The original version of “Autumn Walks” fades into a kind haze of chimes; Clem Leek mellows it out even more, showcasing the piano in the song’s closing minute. ”Return Stones into Sea” possesses a light euphoria, the sun setting as the paper plates are thrown away and the chairs are tilted toward the orange and pink horizon. Could the feel-good nature of this EP be sustained throughout a full album? We don’t know, but we’d like to find out. (Richard Allen)