Awash with vivid colours and fluctuating contours, Drug Store Romeos form realms of inviting familiarity that are ripe for exploration.
The trio — consisting of singer and keyboardist Sarah Downie, bassist Charlie Henderson and drummer Jonny Gilbert — extract limitless potential from within the four walls of their teenage bedrooms, where they began creating music together in their native town of Fleet. On their debut record, The world within our bedrooms, they reach beyond any and every boundary to conjure up a cosmic odyssey.
“Building Song” acts as the lift-off up into the gently glowing retrofuturism of The world within, followed by the playfulness of “Secret Plan”, an invitation to the ensuing whimsy. Mellow vocals skip like pebbles across a lake, before sinking back into the rippling instrumental. Together, the two tracks act as the perfect introductory pair; it’s easy to be captured by their magnetism.
Downie’s cut-and-paste songwriting technique of splicing together words collected from magazines turns songs into collages. There’s an enticing translucence to her lyrics: they appear abstract and somewhat ambiguous, but the shape of her sentiments can still be defined. On the prismatic “Frame of Reference” — which still sounds fresh over a year since it was originally released — she captures the sadness that can come with change and mutates it into euphoria.
The world within is imbued with a kindness that makes listening to it feel like self-care. Their soundscapes are like slipping into silken sheets or a perfectly warm bath, weightless and refreshing. “What’s on Your Mind” in particular has a lovingly inquisitive personality, which brightens a brief moment of melancholy; deep blue guitars and sparkling, silver synths revolve around Gilbert’s spacious percussion, whirling themselves to a dizzying conclusion.
Towards the end of the record’s fifteen tracks, though, it begins to lull itself into a slumber. As the energy subsides, songs start to blend together into an indistinguishable form. These tracks each have their own strengths, but they’re weakened by being lumped together — a tighter, better paced tracklist would ward off fatigue.
This doesn't change the fact that The world within is one to lose yourself in, however. Not bound to any singular moment, setting or dimension, it could stay in orbit for aeons and still be a place you’ll want to revisit time and time again.