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Few bands would cause Rough Trade to toss their rulebook out the window, but upon hearing the arresting sound of two handmade EPs by London trio The Drink, the independent record store did just that - stocking an unsigned band's release for the first time in recent history.
Newly signed to Melodic, The Drink are now set to intoxicate further with the arrival of Company; their gloriously inventive debut album.
Collecting together those now-unavailable EPs, Company has an inimitable, wayward sound drawn from the chaos of real life. “People and places shape the sound - I get ideas from watching people do their thing and also looking at billboards thinking that everything is fucked," says singer and guitarist Dearbhla Minogue. Without clear narratives, the lyrics have a stream-of-consciousness quality, loaded with uncanny imagery. "I try to invoke feelings of familiarity and imagery in songs because that is what I love about hearing good lyrics. For them to invoke something that you recognise and makes you feel a certain way but you're not quite sure why."
The title Company explores the album’s themes of what it means to be human, and being alone. "The idea of company is really interesting, why is it so important?" asks Dearbhla. "The way people operate in company - and in companies - is so interesting. Groups are formed by individuals but after that they take on a life of their own."
The Drink came together when Dearbhla moved to London from her hometown of Dublin and overheard drummer Daniel Fordham and bassist David Stewart practising with their former band in the warehouse she shares with other musicians. “I used to listen to Dan and Dave in Fighting Kites and when they disbanded I took them for my own,” says Dearbhla. “They have a way of making an odd song flow really well. It was great to realise that together we had a band sound without having to contrive it.”
In the way bands such as Deerhoof are revered for their unusual sonic approach, The Drink celebrate beauty in oddness through their use of bold syncopated rhythms, strange time signatures and complex structures, via a love of artists from Joanna Newsom to The Breeders and Captain Beefheart. While many lose their sense of melodic direction labouring to create an intriguing experimental sound, on Company it never wanes through the band’s boundless energy, reverberating basslines and unforgettably spontaneous fusion of American and English indie rock with Irish folk leanings. “We don't set out to write odd songs at all. We just write them as we think they sound interesting and they always turn out to be in bizarre time patterns when it comes to putting them together,”says Dearbhla.
"Our first rehearsals were fuelled largely by Nigerian Foreign Export Guinness, but we're not specifically referring to alcohol when we say The Drink, it's also a way of describing the sea, or something that's essential to survival."
With Company’s impending release The Drink show it’s not only company we crave; we’ll soon need a good shot of The Drink’s bittersweet pop.