Review ·

Los Angeles-based duo Drug Cabin may be a band in its early stages, but its members are veterans in the indie music game. Led by Nathan Thelen (Pretty Girls Make Graves, Moonrats), the dreamy folk/pop outfit just released its eponymous debut EP on 401K Music. The hazy compilation came into fruition in the summer of 2010 with the help of Thelen’s former PGMG bandmate Nick DeWitt (Liars). With DeWitt as producer, the two recorded a handful of songs at friend Josh Klinghoffer’s (Red Hot Chili Peppers) house, resulting in a six-song collection of woozy, beautifully melancholic songs.

The twinkling single, “Whatever Never,” opens the album. The song’s simple, melodic instrumentation complements Thelen’s soothing timbre as he daydreams about a girl, singing, “You look into her eyes / Though you know that it’s unwise / Swim, swim, swim swim, swim in the rivers running down your face / Can be a peaceful place / It’s here I want to stay until the end.” Clocking in at two minutes and twenty-two seconds, the tune exemplifies Thelen’s ability to produce concise, yet infectious, tracks. Even without a chorus, the song holds an amount of pop sensibility that reels its listener in and doesn’t let go.

The EP continues with “Barracuda.” Like the animal it’s named after, this song transports its listener undersea with a tropical yet dark sound that features maracas, keys, and delicately banging percussion. From there, the release takes a turn from pop to folk. “On The Mountain,” is a beautiful, slow-paced acoustic track that features roving piano and slide guitar. The second half of the record continues on this dusty path, comprising wonderfully succinct, rich folk tunes.

After recording the album and moving to L.A., Thelen met fellow musician Marcus Congleton (Ambulance LTD). Though not part of the debut, Congleton is a vital part of Drug Cabin. The duo is currently working on a collaborative collection of songs featuring both of them on singing and songwriting duties. With such a solid debut under its belt, it will be exciting to watch Drug Cabin develop.

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