Drug Cabin's self titled album is brimming with folkish dreamy indie pop songs that embrace you with beautiful melodies laced with a full range of emotions, all that connect with you. Much of this connection hinges on Nathan Thelen's (Pretty Girls Make Graves and Moonrats) superb songwriting and vocal performances that are as laid back as they are earnest. The production flourishes are simply wonderful as produced by Pretty Girls Make Graves bandmate Nick De Witt. Take for example the music break during "One Face" that shines with cool downbeats and some sounds that edge toward the surreal. Dramatic touches like this set Drug Cabin apart from the normal indie folk fare. "Whatever Never" with it's vocal harmonies and dancy rhythm has a classic pop feel and an almost Paul Simon Kodachrome-ish vibe.
I had the pleasure of shooting Drug Cabin back in March of last year performing "Nobody's Ghost" and as lovely as that was, hearing it on this album in all it's carefully rendered glory is somewhat of a revelation. It crackles and pops with homespun sounds as if friends on a porch are joining in with make shift percussion to accompany the very upfront acoustic guitar and Thelan's tender vocals. At a certain point the song just opens up in a sparkling, elegant symphony of sounds that never goes too far. It remains a spartan affair, the silence being as important as the swelling instrumentation. The pristine nature of the sounds sends shivers up your spine and in some ways (certain production elements) reminds me of the Beach Boys iconic Surfs up album.
With the exception of "The One I Love" (which is one of the more straight folk songs on the album) all the songs on Drug Cabin start out feeling very down to earth and very much rooted in Thelen's self awareness only to blow up, becoming dreamy and ethereal. It is a heady ride that you will want to revisit often. I understand that Marcus Congleton (Ambulance LTD front man) did not lend his creative talents to this project but one can only imagine what Drug Cabin will evolve into with his songwriting and musical collaboration.-