Dralms - "Crushed Pleats" / "Divisions of Labour" | Track Review | By Volume

Understand that I am only as he made me: a faithful servant to all of the noise, all of the lights, all of the flashing in my head. Laura Stevenson - Wheel


"Crushed Pleats" / "Divisions of Labour"

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Author: on September 10, 2014

For a band that only just put out their debut single, Dralms sound extremely composed. “Crushed Pleats” and “Divisions of Labour” are two deceptively catchy songs that brilliantly display songwriter Christopher Smith’s soft tenor. He’s Dralms’ crux, but it feels like the quality of Smith’s vocals would be lost if it weren’t for the deftly-tuned synth-R&B that surrounds his voice. Tempered at first, both songs build to an explosive burst of sky-bound synths, cascading drums and Smith’s infectious wail. “Crushed Pleats” is the more raucous of the two songs, but it’s still built upon minimal yet driving percussion, eventually becoming enveloped in a surge of wailing guitars and screaming keys as Smith declares: “Ain’t I a lucky boy?” The song sounds like it’s been unearthed from the bowels of Hell at times, yet on a dime it then drifts in and out of some airy existence where “Crushed Pleats” feels featherweight. It’s a dichotomy that Dralms seem to have mastered between these two songs.

“Divisions of Labour”, similar to its companion, initially plays as a sombre tune, before an eventual eruption of banshee wails from Smith’s guitar echoes up into the rafters, bringing the song to a close. It’s a bit more polished than “Crushed Pleats” maybe, but if that song exists in a realm of Heavens and Hells, then “Division of Labour” is set in an Orwellian dystopia. The song feels dreary, and grey — though not in a detrimental sense, more so it’s incredibly transportative. You feel as if you were waiting with a handful of others, queued in a food line on a shitty morning. You’ve been waiting for hours, and hours, and hours – but once you’ve attained your prize (or “Division of Labours” instrumental freak-out), you’ve forgotten all the previous strife and instead revel in this small, but incredibly important victory. That strange upheaval of drama seems to be a realm that this young band flourish in and there’s something to be said for those who can illuminated the beauty of otherwise ugly things. “Crushed Pleats” and “Divisions of Labour” are two very pretty and accomplished songs from a band who seem to have a knack for bringing out the best of their dark side.


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