Easily one of the most chill and relaxing albums of the year, The Drowning Men’s All of the Unknown is a surprise hit. The music is very well put together and inventive while also keeping it simple. With a sound not too unlike a musical cross of Sainthood Reps and Transit with a vocal style that takes cues from Manchester Orchestra, this band creates music that stands up there among the best of the indie music genre.
Starting with a song that has an… interesting music video to say the least, “Lost In a Lullaby” is the clear and defining single of the album. I absolutely love the vocals in this song. While it has similarities to other indie vocalists, Nato Bardeen has a rich and earthy tone that complements the song even more. The music has an easygoing and dreamy sound where the guitars play off of the vocalist. It’s right up there among the best songs of the year for me.
A creepy circus tune begins another favorite of mine on the album, “Bored In a Belly.” It loosely follows the same tempo as the circus music, but with a heartfelt and conveying feeling. Sure to become a live favorite, it goes off into a broad-sounding song that can only be described as mellow. While it does build up at some parts, it gives away to the aforementioned broad sound. There’s not a whole lot else that goes on in the song, but this is a great example that you don’t need a lot to make something majestic.
“I Am the Beggar Man” starts out with a somber and space-like vocal-driven tune before changing direction and going for a louder, more upbeat approach. It’s probably the most adventurous track on the album as they use a lot of non-instrumental sounds that build a unique vibe. It then bleeds out into a light droning before it picks back up again. The next interlude track “Life In the Willow Tree” is composed entirely of the space-like droning sounds with a few guitar strums.
Sounding like it was taken right off of Bright Eyes‘ The People’s Key, “A Long, Long Walk” is yet another mellow track that also throws in other influences. While I like the entire album, this song stands as my favorite. It is a perfect mood setter in both music and lyrics (“Find our own way through this night/ Your soft lily white hand I hold with my own”), the ideal song to play after a nice date. Well, second only to Zelliack of course. If you are a fan of indie music, this is a great addition to your collection and will be a constant spin.