REVIEW: Drugdealer evokes optimism in new album

By Luis Castilla

Los Angeles-based psychedelic pop-rock band Drugdealer’s second album “Raw Honey” is a surreal trip of self-reflection and love that was ripped from the late ’60s.

Drugdealer is the latest project of Michael Collins, who has worked under the pseudonyms “Run DMT” and “Salvia Plath” before.

The band has been described as not actually being a band, but more of a collective with Collins serving as the principal driving force creatively.

Collins collaborated with lo-fi synth-country artist Doogie Poole, Harley and the Hummingbirds’ Harley Hill Richmond and Weyes Blood, who also appeared on Drugdealer’s first album, “The End Of Comedy,” to create “Raw Honey.”

The album opens with “You’ve Got To Be Kidding,” which starts off with someone getting in their car and driving away, followed by melodic guitar, and what sounds like a harpsichord, accompanied by a children’s choir.

This instrumentation created an epic tone that prepares the listener for what is to to expect with “Raw Honey.” The track ends with the same car heard in the beginning driving by the listener, which feels very  reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s idea of moving music.

The album has bright, sunny instrumentation that weaves optimism into each of its songs.

“Honey,” for example, balances Weyes Blood’s soothing vocals with smooth, Beatles-like guitar to give the track some light-heartedness.

Blood sings in a very low tone throughout the song, which makes it feel much more powerful when she belts out “I know that you want to be free and to be wild, oh to hugged just like a child” during the chorus.

While the lyrics on “Lonely” are simple, the instrumentation is fun and bouncy.

“Lost In My Dream” is a much richer track. This track sounds like it would be right at home on The Beatles’ “Magical Mystery Tour” album because of its playful chorus and backing vocals.

“If You Don’t Know Now, You Never Will” is a ballad about self-doubt and moving on.

Its different guitar tones mesh together nicely near the end of the track before fading into the sound of a thunderstorm, evoking a feeling of isloation within the listener,

Another stand-out track is the slow and soft “Wild Motion.”

Doogie Poole’s vocals are deep and full of emotion, making it sound like he’s drinking alone at night when he sings, “Wine and liquor pouring down you’re drain, it settles on your brain, what a great escape.”

Collins adds contrast to the lyrics of “Wild Motion” with a warm guitar riff.

“Raw Honey” leaves the listener with “Ending On A Hi Note,” a one-and-a-half-minute instrumental that sounds like background music from an old black and white film.

This track is a perfect closer to the album and wraps it up nicely, perfectly projecting the vibe Collins was trying to create.

Collins succeeded in taking older musical styles from the ’60s and taking them in a fresh and completely new direction while still keeping a consistent theme that would please casual listeners as well as hardcore fans of the rock genre.

“Raw Honey” is out now and available on all platforms.

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