Sound — 9
Despite my personal affection for this album, I'll try to step back and be objective. Musically, the band is the culmination of the post-hardcore sound that's been developing since the turn of the millenium, while at the same time being eclectic as hell. You've got radio-friendly pop-punk ('I'm Here to Take the Sky'), dubstep-tinged emo rockers ('Mr. Owl Ate My Metal Worm'), mosh-pit anthems ('Stop Reading, Start Doing Pushups'), pizzicato strings ('Graveyard Dancing'), and one of the oddest rhythms I've ever heard (alternating 7/16, 5/16 OR just an oddly counted 6/8) starts off the album in 'If You Think This Song Is About You, It Probably Is.' The variety is a beautiful element that is severely lacking in other releases in this genre. However, at its core, the band's sound is standard post-hardcore.
Lyrics — 6
Craig Owens' lyrics on this album are odd. He said in interviews prior to the album's release that he'd decided against his usual literary allusions and subtle touches in favor of a simpler, more emotionally direct lines. In places, this has worked out really well ('These friends die easy, just disappear. Well my best friend, I knew these lives would end up here, ' from 'my Swagger Has A First Name'), and in others it just seems incredibly lazy. Case in point, 'I'm not living for you, I'm just living, so chill with your game, ' from 'Graveyard Dancing.' Similarly, the sentiment of the song 'Sex Life' seems extremely forced. As far as I know (and I don't think I'm mistaken in saying I know enough), Craig Owens has never been involved in a sex scandal, and yet he's written a song about it. It's a shame, too, because it's a good song, but the lyrics really do ruin it. However, when Owens writes good lyrics, he writes REALLY GOOD lyrics. Just look at the lyrics to album opener, 'If You Think... ', 'Mr. Owl, ' and the aforementioned 'My Swagger.' Between the really good and the god-awful, what you get is a hard time putting a number on the whole thing.
Overall Impression — 8
As a band consisting of members known for being in other bands, the only two artists I really see any comparison to is Craig Owens' Chiodos, and guitarist Matt Good's From First to Last. However, even with the prevalence of these two members' sounds DRUGS is a beast entirely its own. The songs are very direct, and any subtlety is implemented in a way so as to only heighten the effect without going over any listener's head. Really, the album's only weakness are its lyrical weak spots. Key tracks are 'If You Think This Song Is About You, It Probably Is, ' 'Mr. Owl Ate My Metal Worm, ' 'Stop Reading, Start Doing Pushups, ' and 'My Swagger Has a First Name.' But really, the whole album is worth a good listen or two. If they stay together, I expect great things from D.R.U.G.S. Hopefully God never shows so they can keep destroying and rebuilding things for us to listen to.