Album Review: Drug Rug – Paint The Fence Invisible

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You could say those that play together stay together. You could also argue the opposite. But it’s never been too bad an idea to look no further than your own significant other for inspiration. In many cases up and down the musical spectrum, we see lovers turning their feelings for each other into passionate music, whatever form it may result. From Paul and Linda to Sid and Nancy, for better or worse these couples made it work, even if it ended in divorce/overdose/what have you.

Now in 2009, we have another set of lovebirds to make those single listeners feel extra lonely. Enter Tommy Allen and Sara Cronin, also known as Boston’s Drug Rug. After meeting at a mutual work place in Cambridge, the two had their first date trading back acoustic tunes that they had written. The two then decided to turn their blooming attraction into music magic and in 2007 recorded a very lo-fi self-titled debut, all in their kitchen. Now, after picking up a few friends to help out, the duo returns with their next offering of feel good, 60’s heavy hits.

Paint The Fence Invisible is a new chance for a band that needed a little help to get their ideas over the counter and on to the wax, and what we’re left with can’t be turned down. On newfound home Black and Greene Records, Drug Rug has been able to stretch out a bit, and with a surprising amount of detail. The little punctuations in each track are just as planned as the simple and catchy main structure, as is the case with the haunting/clever xylophone in “Don’t Be Frightened By the Devil”, or the subtle zither on “Sooner The Better”. All said, what really grabs your attention are the adorable harmonies from our new indie couple.

The vocal trade off between Allen and Cronin sounds effortless. Record opener “Follow” is a minute long tease leading right into the paranoid duet of “Haunting You”. The seductive “Don’t Be Frightened by The Devil” carries brilliant interplay that litters the reverberated track. The harmonies create melodies that cause the two to sound better together than they do apart as much of the record focuses on Allen’s all too standard vocals for a lead.

Though, the real surprises come when Cronin is let loose on the bluesy “Hannah, Please”, where she sings with a snide, sarcastic wail. The effect sounds almost as if she had swallowed an amplifier right before recording and let the attitude fly — and how she soars. Cronin’s got the kind of voice that grabs a man by the balls and twists, which is surprising when contrasted with her more prominent-yet-shy backing parts. On the downside, she only reappears solo once more, and for the album closer and namesake. This time, however, her voice is much quieter with a simple strum to back her. It’s the most stripped down track on the record and acts to wake you out of the hazy Drug Rug trance you’ve been lulled into.

The move to a cleaner sound has worked in their favor tremendously. Paint The Fence Invisible provides us with track after track of moments that let you into the couples’ mind and heart. Altogether, these tunes are ventures that mesmerize and swoon from one sunny-stoned track to the next. Come to think of it, this will be a perfect companion for the long hot days ahead.

Check Out:
“Never Tell”