Drugstore – Anatomy

(Rocket Girl, 2011)
Whenever a song explores the autobiographical experiences of a musician, we’re holding a double-edged sword. Sometimes the theme can truly touch the listener, sometimes it can get too intimate and unreachable. Isabel Monteiro manages to lead us through an autobiographical journey made of sounds and emotion; talking about Anatomy, she says that “It’s painfully intimate, shamelessly simple, devastatingly sad”.

Drugstore formed in London, back in 1993, by the Brazilian singer/bassist Isabel Monteiro,Dave Hunter (later replaced by Daron Robinson) on guitar and Mike Chylinski on drums. They started touring with bands such as RadioheadTindersticksJeff Buckley and The Jesus and Mary Chain. They reached the success with the second album White Magic for Lovers and released Songs for the Jet Set in 2001. Nevertheless, one year later the band went into a seven-year hiatus. Isabel was the one who suffered most from the experience, going through depression and avoiding any contact with the world. However, in 2010 Monteiro announced a revamped line-up, and Drugstore played a gig at the ICA in London. After having signed with the indie label Rocket Girl, in January 2011 they spent 3 weeks at a studio in Platts Eyot recording material for their new album.

Anatomy has a great responsibility; it is the first album of Drugstore in more than 9 years. It unveils emotions, sensations and the feeling of a new beginning. This album goes from some alt country to folk, with some rock outbursts mainly led by the guitar. There are incursions of some spaghetti-Western (Sweet Chilli Girl), classic guitar, synths and echoes. It is contemplative, melancholic (Lights Out, Falling Rocks) and at the same time hopeful ( Blackholes & Brokenhearts). The lullabies of Acquamarine and Can’t Stop Me Now contrast with the melancholy of Sinner’s Descent, a minimal song which contains an outstanding emotional power. The climax is reached with Clouds, in which the lyrical level is accentuated by violins and a piano. The voice of Monteiro reminds us, in a delicate, resigned warning “this is the end of the world”.

I’d like to finish with her point of view on the album: “Anatomy is about exposing yourself to the core, whether it’s pretty or ugly. I think it’s both: an analytical inspection of a state of mind.”


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