Judging by the blurb that accompanies their album, it sounds as though Drugdealer – aka Michael Collins and co. – have had a bit of a existential crisis when it comes to the value in creativity in a saturated world. “It often feels like everything’s been done,” they say. “What’s the point of creating? Does the world need another still life of fruit? Another film about love? Does the world need another melody?”
If the context for ‘Raw Honey’, the band’s first album since 2016’s ‘The End of Comedy’ is, er, a tad pessimistic, there’s little on their second album that suggests like they’re apathetic about its creation. There’s a streak of optimism that runs though ‘Raw Honey’ and its thoughtful and – dare we say it? – old-school approach to songwriting. There’s ‘Lonely’, which is best suited for blowing out the speakers on your car radio, while ‘Lost In The Dream’ will send your own Magical Mystery Tour.
The record features familiar voices such as Weyes Blood, the songwriter behind one of the year’s most serene albums, ‘Titanic Rising’, who lends soothing vocals to ‘Honey’ and contemporaries Harley Hill-Richmond on the jaunty ‘Lonely’ and Dougie Poole on the Roy Orbison-indebted ‘Wild Motion’. This collaborative spirit results in a rare thing – an album that sounds and feels like it was all recorded in the same room. It’s just a group of ragtag group of creatives searching for companionship for their work, as well an outlet to channel their musings on the modern-world.
‘Raw Honey’ has the air of a great lost album from the ‘70s, with lush instrumentation that falls between Crosby Stills & Nash and The Eagles, yet also boasts the crisp production of a modern-day studio (engineered by one Mac DeMarco). Paranoia and anxiety may have fuelled this album’s conception – but here’s proof here that a song is worth singing, if only to impart a little more joy on the world.