Little Drum – Darling Ocean (2021)

Little Drum are using their debut EP Darling Ocean to introduce their fusion of retro and contemporary sound to listeners. With four tracks that touch on themes of love, loss and hope, they bring a sprinkling of electronica to a merger of pop sensibilities. Inspired by experiences the band has been through, the tracks take you from dreamy flows to foot-stomping good times.

The lapping of tones against our ears comes from Matty Benbrook, Pauline Taylor and Donny Little. No newcomers to the music world, this is their first outing as this musical project, formed as they were drawn together by their shared love of music. After working together on a variety of other projects, they take listeners on a journey through their minds, influences and blending styles.

The EP opens with the title track ‘Darling Ocean’ which brings the dreamy lapping waves of the sea to sonic life. The gentle acoustics of the guitar combines with the humming of the opening vocals for a folky flow that sets you at ease. You can easily imagine sitting on the beach with the waves lapping on the shore as this song plays. The vocals are dreamy as they bring a traditional edge to the track. The higher tone of the vocals is a wonderful contrast to the flow of the melody making it wonderfully engaging.

‘Love is the Key’ brings a touch of soul to the folk of the opening track. The driving beat has your head bopping to it while your feet tap to the rhythm. It is a really captivating movement that you can’t really deny. The vocals bring a more soulful feeling to the soundscape while the humming backing vocals create a plushness. The interaction between the driving beats and the cushion of the vocals is wonderful and lets you really sink into the lyrics. The overall soulful softness of the track enhances the message of the lyrics that lets you know that love is what we all need to get through. This message is tempered with the knowledge that others may not agree but a little love in the world can make a serious difference.

The acoustic opening of ‘Runner’ leads you to a slightly odd beat. The two layers of the melody bring a strange sense of open plains and urban landscapes to your brain. The gentle folk acoustics are all long grass meadows while the beats have the lightest touch of industrial to them. This contrast of tones and senses enhances the emotion of the lyrics that touch on loss and uncertainty. This is potentially the most melodically interesting track because of the very different tones that float and merge through the soundscape. There is a rise in soft tones later in the track that fills you with the softness that has been present throughout the EP.

The EP comes to an end with ‘Traffic and the Rain’ which uses a stripped-back melody. The acoustic guitar-driven melody gives the single a musing feeling that perfectly encapsulates the vibes of the vocals. There is an old-school folk vibe to this track that really lets the vocals shine. The power of the performance is wonderful and so emotive. The stripped-back melody lightly plucks against your ears while the vocal performance moves from soft musing to a reaching flow that tugs at your heartstrings.

Little Drum fills you with a softness that weaves around folk and soul tones while tugging at loss, uncertainty and musing thoughts in Darling Ocean. Each track of the EP has a unique sound et carries a thread of softness tying them together as a whole. The vocals move across the tracks like the gentle waves of the ocean lapping at your senses with the melodies turning into the roll of white foam.

Find out more about Little Drum on their Facebook, Instagram and Spotify.

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