The same reasons that the cassette tape was dropped by major labels and distributors are the very same reasons that it works so beautifully for the current crop of DIY labels and bands. It’s a large medium, widely impractical, and everything that is put onto it generally is played back with a huge portion of fuzz and distortion. The digital age and the MP3 has given a lot of advances, but it almost feels wrong listening to a band like Dead Drums with crystal clear clarity, as though part off the magic has been removed thanks to the precision it is being delivered with.
However, the songs themselves are worth carrying on listening to through your tinny laptop speakers, deftly mixing meandering melodic riffs with an admiration for drone and experimentation to create something that sounds positive in this post-chillwave wasteland. Upbeat without being neon or saccharine, it’s a sound that leaves space for thought and procrastination without ever really verging on boredom. Still, it feels like it would be more at home in a tape deck, moving from reel to reel, blaring through some low-rent speakers all distant and slightly warped. Ambient can sometimes be a byword for background music, but Dead Drums are far from that.