The Fence Invisible
Tell All Your Friends Records
By Scott Roberts
The press release for Paint The Fence Invisible, the second
release from Cambridge, Mass.’ Drug Rug, wants you to know that the CD
was mostly recorded in a house in the Catskills, but not just any old house — a
haunted house. And there is a bit of a ghostly flavor on the brief album opener
“Follow,” with its lo-fi drum machine, vintage ‘80s-sounding keyboards and lushly-layered,
indistinguishable vocals, but the songs that follow are
mostly of the upbeat, melodic variety and are not scary at all, but instead
filled with gloriously group-huggy optimism.
Drug Rug is the brainchild of Tommy Allen and Sarah Cronin, both
vocalists and multi-instrumentalists, as well as a duo on and off the stage.
The listener can not only hear the twosome’s (though the band is augmented by
five other musicians) love of the music of a simpler time, but also their love
for each other shining brightly through on the CD’s 11 tracks. Regardless of
the mood, from the sinewy and hypnotic “Noah Rules” to the feisty and new-wavey
“Hannah, Please” (with a winning lead vocal by Cronin), the joy of making music
and a general sense of togetherness always manages to come across. Other
standout tracks are the infectious “Sooner the Better” and the delightfully
draggy “Coffee in the Morning” — think “I’m Only Sleeping” by The Beatles,
complete with a backwards guitar solo and a bafflingly harmonious,
I-dare-you-not-to-sing-along “take me inside” refrain.
What separates Drug Rug from some other relationship-fueled bands is
that these two actually know how to play their instruments, and they care
if those instruments (and vocals) are in tune. They also have an obvious
reverence for the music of the recent past and are interested in using that
music as a creative foundation to building something beautifully modern.