On paper, DRINKS looks like a good idea. Featuring Welsh rocker Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley of White Fence, it’s not hard to guess what you’re in for: an unusual rock album. It’s consistent enough to show that there was a clear idea going into it, mixing elements of both artists’ styles while still going in a new direction. It’s a collaboration that was conducted well, but in the end the execution is what brings Hermits On Holiday down.
Hermits On Holiday starts off innocently enough, with Laying Down The Rock being a sparse but standard rock song; its most defining feature is the electric guitar constantly repeating its riff so that it falls out of time with the rest of the song. It’s a good indicator for what to expect from the first part of the album stylistically, but it quickly moves into stranger territory. She Walks So Fast feels more like a jam session than a song, lasting five and a half minutes but only filling out and playing like a real song at the three and a half minute mark. If you look at the album as being split in two halves, this makes up the normal rock section of the album, which ends with the album’s title track.
After that point, the album enters its psychedelic phase. Spilt the Beans starts this section off, with a simple bass riff and guitar dominating the song early before more elements start seeping in and it twists into something more psychedelic and less simplistic. Tim, Do I Like That Dog is the strangest song here; taking key elements from both the previously mentioned songs, it starts off like a jam session before transforming into another droning psych rock song, with Le Bon’s heavily accented vocals repeating the song’s title; the final package is rather off-putting and eerie, even if the description doesn’t sound strange.
In its entirety, Hermits On Holiday feels almost like an improvised album. The songs are all slow with different elements popping in and out at different times, which works to the benefit of most songs but against She Walks So Fast. It makes the album difficult to listen to at times, especially when the album’s less successful songs run far too long. Even still, it does feature some memorable moments, and psych rock fans or anyone that follows Le Bon or Presley will definitely get some enjoyment out of it.