Release Date: Apr 19, 2019
Record label: Mexican Summer
The first Drugdealer album, The End of Comedy, was a bit of a stylistic shift for the band's main instigator, Michael Collins, that saw him moving away from trippy and weird psych towards something far more relaxed and Laurel Canyon-y. There were a few kinks to be ironed out, like meandering songs and a few too many cooks, but it was a promising and enjoyable record. The second Drugdealer album, Raw Honey, has zero kinks left to work out and fulfills all the promise of the debut and more.
Despite Michael Collins' ominous nom de guerre, the second album by Drugdealer opens in such a fanciful manner that any notion of harm is instantly cast out the window. With a gentle guitar arpeggio and choral vocals - none of which would be out of place in a Spaghetti Western - instrumental track 'You've Got To Be Kidding' immediately sets the mood for a whimsical collection. 'Honey' continues this cinematic trend, and like another highlight, 'If You Don't Know Then You Never Will', it evokes the charm of Tobias Jesso Jr.
Drugdealer's second album is a collection of '70s-tinged soft-rock jams for heading out on your own Magical Mystery Tour, and proof of the power of song Judging by the blurb that accompanies their album, it sounds as though Drugdealer - aka Michael Collins and co. - have had a bit of a existential crisis when it comes to the value in creativity in a saturated world. “It often feels like everything's been done," they say.
The End of Comedy, Michael Collins' first record under the moniker Drugdealer, was a promising turn away from a messy early career which seemed to have him grounded in fuzzy, inconsequential experimentalism. The songwriter, who claims never to have played a musical instrument before he began experimenting with tape sounds in 2009, tossed off an idiosyncratic record of warm, California pop with a few magical moments. His follow up continues the upwards trajectory.
In rock music, history isn't always written by the victors. Legacies are constantly reassessed; much modern criticism serves to elevate the underdogs of yesterday into the icons of now. By contrast, scan Billboard charts from the '60s and '70s and you'll find countless chart-toppers who swiftly slid into obscurity, remembered only by the most dedicated golden-oldies station programmers and seasoned dollar-bin flippers.