Some bands are best born in turmoil and drama, with the pain of past events providing ample fuel for angst-riddled diatribes of unignorable passion. In the case of Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows (D.R.U.G.S., get it?), the turmoil and drama of vocalist Craig Owens is the cataylst.
For fans of post-hardcore act Chiodos, the Owens name resonates. He was "famously" bounced from the band in 2009 thanks to a bout of tension and problems. Owens had been subject to considerable criticism and even attempted suicide in 2008 due to his struggles with bipolar disorder.
In any event, such a dramatic, bold presence ought to provide something by way of legitimate Weltschmerz (Google it).
Owens' new band seems the perfect vehicle for said world-weariness and their debut recording, a self-titled jumble of eleven songs, should be a nice way to let go of past feelings.
Unfortunately, nothing about D.R.U.G.S. sounds like it was written for anyone a day over 14. The angst of a twentysomething singer who's frankly been through a lot of shit winds up sounding like the practiced rage of Linkin Park and other bands who appear to have traced their lyrical content from Facebook wall posts.
Owens is joined in (on?) D.R.U.G.S. by Matt Good, Nick Martin, Adam Russell, and Aaron Stern. Musically, the band draws on pretty standard post-hardcore shtick. There's nothing at all revolutionary from a sonic point of view, as the music is awash with Owens' idea of creativity. In effect, that translates to tossing in a whiff of dubstep here and a bit of backing vocals there.
For the whining emo set, this sort of thing will be right up their raccoon-eyed alley. For the rest of us, those of us with some modicum of taste at least, nothing D.R.U.G.S. brings resonates beyond a mallrat still complaining about how slutty his ex-girlfriend is.
Case in point: the shrill "The Only Thing You Talk About" sounds like a bitter, clumsy text message sent to a cheating lover from across the food court. Owens leans heavily on vocal effects and studio magic to make his point, but it's when he stops and shouts "I knew as soon as I left you'd go and fuck someone else" that the song really raises the bar on clumsy juvenile bullshit.
The following track, "Graveyard Dancing," rocks the same theme. "You're not as pretty as you maybe think that you are," sings Owens over clattering effects. Great, more whimpering.
It's a given that this sort of meaningless carping can go on forever. There are many, many bands that have built long careers off manifesting the rather feeble lamentations of privileged teens, after all, and there's an endless market for material that appeals to youngsters pissed at their parents for taking away their iPads for the weekend. Will D.R.U.G.S. walk into that line of vapidity proudly?
"Sex Life" seems the answer to the affirmative, I think. One of the most grating songs I've heard in a long time, it begins with a pathetic attempt at harmonizing and rolls into a puerile chorus that repeats "If you had a sex life, a sex life, would you even worry about mine? When you bed is empty, you're a waste of time." Charming, Owens.
With the vast opportunities for legitimate angst squandered in favour of mindless, sappy rantings and ravings about "haters" and ex-lovers, D.R.U.G.S. is a "waste of time" whether your bed is empty or not.