Drummer is an Akron-bred supergroup whose members have all been drummers in other area bands (get it?), including Party of Helicopters, Ghostman & Sandman, the Black Keys, Houseguest, Teeth of the Hydra and Beaten Awake.
Moreover, they are five buddies who have been making music with or around each other for a decade, brought together by Black Keys drummer/Drummer's bassist Pat Carney during his musical partner Dan Auerbach's solo winter tour.
Though the band has been together less than a year, through the magic of Carney's industry connections and the fact that he owns record label Audio Eagle, the quintet skipped many of the hurdles other new bands must endure and will release its debut album, Feel Good Together, on Tuesday.
The album shows a young band of old friends that has hit the ground running. The 10 tracks on Feel Good Together don't reinvent any of indie rock's many stylistic wheels, but they add up to a confident and quite catchy opening statement.
The band's aces in the hole are singer Jon Finley's rugged tenor, which makes pretty much everything he sings sound vital, and the way they deftly pack many of the tunes with distinctly different parts, switching tempos and exchanging riffs for chord progressions, all while keyboardist Steve Clements and guitarist Jamie Stillman pile on melodic touches that are often as hummable as Finley's vocal lines.
Disc opener Lottery Dust (the song titles are as inscrutable as Finley's dream-inspired lyrics) lays down the band's M.O. quite well with some prog-rock-like dual guitar/keyboard lines, sandwiched between a catchy riff, drummer Greg Boyd's skipping beat and Finley providing the (ahem) feel-good mantra as a hook with his ghostly intonation, ''Keep hittin' it, stay with it.''
Finley's lyrics might not always be of the linear moon-in-June style, and co-producer/engineer Ben Vehorn has mixed his vocals to float just atop the swirling music underneath, making understanding tough at times. But Finley knows exactly where to stick a hook. The title track and lead single, Feel Good Together, is nearly anthemic with its skipping, nearly funky beat and big chorus of ''I tried and failed, only time will tell,'' can worm its way into your head for a few hours.
On the midtempo Serious Encounters he wonders (in a catchy melody, natch) ''Are we happy? I have no clue, time is coming, and it comes for you,'' providing the kind of existential chorus that a club full of bouncing 20-somethings can yell in unison.
On Good Golly and Buddyscapes, the band keeps it simple, ratchets up the tempo and simply rocks out while adroitly bookending the relatively inert Connect To Lounge.
Feel Good Together is a record that takes many familiar elements of indie rock (punk, new wave, soft choruses, loud verses, the relatively recent and growing influence of folk and prog-rock) and distills them into 10 deceptively complex and downright catchy songs.
Malcolm X Abram can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-996-3758.