Monday, November 12, 2018

Draag's "Your Better Half Is Dead" from the "Nontoxic Process" EP - unabashed pop pulled inside out lies between Pretty In Pink and Twin Peaks

Los Angeles based Draag began as a kind of reawakening of songwriter / musician Adrian Acosta (in 2013) delving into songs he recorded on a dual tape deck karaoke machine when he was only 10 years old. Fast forward about to 2017 after many musical self discoveries and Draag expanded to a 5 piece band. While dreams of a full length album were diverted by illness and other personal challenges the band's EP "Nontoxic Process" became "an answer to everything artificially driven and a need to feel something other than sickness." 

The track Your Better Half Is Dead riding on pearly guitar lines while waves of dissonant synth drones tug at the sweetness pulling it off balance. The vox melodies have a romantic forlorn new wave tone. I mean this song falls somewhere in between a soundtrack of Pretty In Pink and Twin Peaks, unabashed pop pulled inside out in an off kilter sort of way. The last vocal hush leaves the romance intact though. For me the vox are a bit buried in the haze but I guess that is part of the allure, noise pop with the lyrical heart to be discovered. Draag in the end are terribly romantic albeit sad. Just listen to the albums devastatingly haunting goosebumps inducing Tired Like Before. At over 6 minutes long you don't have to hear every word to be deeply touched to tears. Other songs drive on cool dynamic beats like Lavender Hole which again feels to me to be in that mid 80's new wave pocket (Psychedelic Furs meets the Cranberries). Sorry (Dispensa) is a heady and terribly cool beautiful blend of new wave sounds with a big grungy post punk guitar driven chorus and breaks that feel oddly interruptive in a machine takes over kind of way. The EP "Nontoxic Process" is not to be missed, NOT to be missed. 

Robb Donker

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