The Drowning Men's "All of the Unknown"

The Drowning Men's "All of the Unknown"

  • Article by: Abby Wheeler
  • Posted: 07/13/2012

The gritty and seemingly rag-tag members of indie folk group The Drowning Men did not originally intend to make music a career; instead they sought to make music simply for music’s sake. Lead vocalist Nato Bardeen claims that song writing and live performance are highly personal hobbies, but it seems that the band is in for more than they bargained following their recording sessions with Billy Mohler, (Smashing Pumpkins’ Jimmy Chamberlin, Samantha Ronson, Macy Gray, Jon Brion). 

Bardeen’s prolific and spirited songwriting skill lends itself to the folk genre, but there’s no mistaking the theatrical indie rock feel of the band’s new album, All of the Unknown, which will be released on July 17 via Flogging Molly’s Borstal Beat Records. Overall, the album’s influences are diverse. 

The band’s passion for world-wide folk is evident in “The Waltz” and “Lost in A Lullaby,” two songs that feature two-line choruses and read something like the shanties and chants on the band’s freshman album, The Beheading of the Songbird. In their latest effort, the album’s stripped-down vocals, rhythmic complexity, and attention-grabbing melodies come together for a highly poetic and easy-to-listen-to album. Pop-inspired, lighter pieces like “Smile” allow the listener to let go, while the deeply introspective and dark, eerie shades of “A Better Place,” and “I Am the Beggar Man,” leave us wondering. 

The common themes of loneliness, fortune and misfortune, self-deprecation and purpose come together as emotional snapshots of an intricate and well crafted whole. With bigger and better choruses and melodies -- (which can be partly credited to the hands-on, in-studio influence of Mohler) -- All of the Unknown shows The Drowning Men embracing a sound that is multi-dimensional and entirely their own.

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