The Drift has been building a slow buzz for themselves over the course of the past year leading to the release of Noumena. In addition to the inherent interest levels that they might expect to have by including members of the bands Tarentel (Danny Grody) and Halifax Pier (Rich Douthit), the group also released a really nice 12" single that contained two long doses of their heady ambient post rock jazz whatever outpourings. On their debut full-length, the group drops six long pieces for almost an hours worth of music, and for those wanting an even more full helping, the 2LP contains 2 more tracks.
The first time I heard the group, some pretty specific references came to mind, but I'll hold those for later. With warm guitars, beats that range from sparse to pummeling, and an upright bass (at least it sounds that way with the twang involved), horns, and plenty of effects, the group is mainly about creating long washes of sound from which sometimes frenetic workouts arise. The opening track of "Gardening, Not Architecture" is all clouds, though, as a swirling intro leads into some slightly more solid moments of beauty before falling back into fog again.
"Invisible Cities" starts out more grounded, as a steady bassline keeps things nailed down while some blurps of guitar and sparse percussion rattle around. Eventually, the whole thing locks into a groove and moves through passages that range from almost improvisational trip-out to full-on horn-laced stomp. From there out, the album keeps an agreeable pace, veering back and forth from almost mournfull, horn-laced pieces to moments where the guitars really ring and the group coalesce into something driving and rocking.
The last two tracks on the album are also the shortest, and they couldn't be a bigger difference in styles. "Inconsistency Principle" shuffles with a wicked rhythm section and soft pulses of guitar noise, reverbed horns, and squiggles of electronics drift (pardon me, I had to say it at least once) in and out of the tight backbone. On the other side of things is "Fractured Then Gathered (Reprise)," which closes the disc with a cavernous, molasses-slow piece that sounds like Codeine playing in an empty grain silo. The band that I was going to mention in comparison was Do Make Say Think, but as I've spent more time with The Drift, I think that the comparison is somewhat off. Yes, both groups have lots of horns and guitars bathed in reverb with unique song structures, but The Drift is much more narcotic and less rock. This is music to put on and get lost in, and one could even compare it to the more spacey moments of Miles Davis (in a certain context). In short, the group has picked a perfect name for themselves.