Drugstore : Songs For The Jetset

Following on from their single with Thom Yorke, Drugstore release the finest album of their career...

Dogged by label changes that have left two-year gaps between their albums, Drugstore enter 2001 with a hazardously low profile. Indeed, over the years, even their memorable moments in the spotlight – a tawdry band-who-shags-together feature in one yoof publication; a much better Top 20 single with Thom Yorke – have done them as much harm as good.

Dismiss them at your peril, however, for ‘Songs For The Jetset’ is a small revelation. Pared-back compared to 1998’s ‘White Magic For Lovers’, it was recorded over 11 days and is a lesson in compact, slightly baroque pop. Somewhere between Morrissey’s ‘Vauxhall And I’

and The Velvet Underground, songs chime seductively, stalk purposefully and, occasionally, swoon like a less camp,

semi-acoustic Suede.

What’s more, Isabel Monteiro is as charismatic as ever. Blessed with a rich, nicotine purr, she’s the party girl with a heart. And just as effective hitching up her skirts for the crimson tango, ‘I Wanna Love You Like A Man’, as she is rallying the disenfranchised on ‘Song For The Lonely’. There’s still a slight tendency for Catatonia-like nine-pints-to-the-wind scarf-waving, and you’ll either love or hate Lambchop-man Paul Niehaus’ pedal-steel on opener ‘Baby Don’t Hurt Yourself’. But, overall, this is elegant, heartfelt stuff.

Tony Naylor