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Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Alternative Rock




"Listen to Dralms "Divisions of Labour""

A fascinating downtempo new track from Dralms, the Vancouver quartet with a ton of promise. "Divisions of Labor" is the A side of their debut 7" on Fat Possum Records. We are definitely instant fans and can't wait to see what they do next. - Fingers on Blast

"Dralms Live @ The Media Club 04/16/2014"

Then the headliners took to the stage. Despite a familiar band composition-Christopher Smith (vocals/guitar), Shaunn Watt (drums), William Kendrick (synth/keys), and Peter Carruthers (bass)—Dralms soon proved to be more of a reinvention than a fresh moniker for Smith’s solo project. Playing to a crowded, unfortunately chatty room, Dralms’ second song was off their EP, Crush Pleats. Titled “Division of Labour,” it struck me as a hastened, synth-infused reworking of “Pillars and Pyre.” The trudging bass set a black scene for recurring key riffs to eerily flicker against. Adapting to their context, Smith’s placid words were shadowed and dripping with derision. Though his subject matter wasn’t fully decipherable, Smith’s final words, “if my heart had its will” seem to ache in inexplicable constraint and invoked Orwellian overtones.

Dralms went on to sing “Pillars and Pyre,” “Usage,” “Gang of Pricks,” and a cover of Fever Ray’s “If I had a Heart.” The final song, “Crushed Pleats,” was also from their recent EP. In a fog of drone the bass began. Howling gusts were slowly introduced. They haunted Smith’s tale of portent seduction as he sang, “Let your hair down. Little birds come tumbling to the ground.” Though hyperbolic, the imagery he invoked was disturbing. It added harrowing chaos to the already amassing sound.
As Smith repeated exhaustively “Ain’t I a lucky boy?” his rhetoric was engulfed in a synth-drenched swirl. Heavier than sarcasm, his words were weighed down by an oppressive and sinister force. As if to affirm this, the stage lights flashed in apocalyptic fury. The entranced band had trapped themselves in their own sound.

On this dismal Wednesday night, Dralms depicted a world of dark restraint. There was something dystopian in the hollows of Carruthers’ cavernous bass chords and the weaving electronic textures suggest a mechanized future where what seems good and pure is only artificial. In Dralms, Smith’s voice is not virtuously perfect, but inhumanly flawless. - Discorder

"Christopher Smith Weighs In on New Dralms Project"

It wasn't too hard for Vancouver's Christopher Smith to put his solo career on hold and focus on his new band, Dralms. While plucked from various local acts like Siskiyou and Failing, the project is conveniently enough also made up from the gentle tunesmith's core of live back-up musicians.

"I was already playing with Shaunn [Watt, drummer], Will [Kendrick, keyboardist] and Peter [Caruthers, bass], and as things got more and more dialled in, playing and performing with them became my preference. A big part of the departure was just all of us wanting to work on a different sound," Smith tells Exclaim!, allowing that the songs from his last solo LP, Earning Keep, evolved in the hands of the quartet to the point where there was "a definite disconnect between the album and shows."

As evidenced by the a pair of tracks the troupe premiered on Bandcamp last month, Dralms is still led by the cloud-soft vocals of Smith, but he and the group veer off into cyclical dub rhythms on "Divisions," while the spacey "Crushed Pleats" mixes OK Computer era Radiohead, rising post-rock arrangements and glitched-out electronic tones.

"The writing process is in some ways the same as it's always been," Smith explains of Dralms' setup. "I write the songs in a very basic way, bring them to the band and we mould and work them out. Now, though, I'm more interested to see how far we can take and change things from where they started. The songs are far more reliant on Shaunn, Will and Peter's musicianship. I'd like to take things even further with Dralms in this regard, starting and finishing things as a group. Give up the reins a little... or a lot, I guess. So, Dralms is really just our commitment to a this new creative process and this new sound."

Also contributing to the sonic heft of Dralms is producer Andy Dixon (Secret Mommy, Caving), with whom Smith had previously trusted with a remix of Earning Keep's "Pillars and Pyre." According to Smith, Dixon's "involvement was extensive," but the extra clicks, echo and ambiance layered onto the songs by the producer came late in the game, and under the condition that he not completely overhaul the quartet's foundation.

"The songs were recorded in a day at [Vancouver studio] Afterlife by John Raham and then given to Andy to be mixed and (re)produced. Andy was given significant artistic licensing so long as the integrity of the song writing remained intact. We were looking for a producer not someone to remix the songs."

Currently, Dralms have only recorded the two songs available on Bandcamp, but they will be issued physically as the Crushed Pleats EP at a later date. More studio sessions are expected to take place in the new year, and while Smith confirms that Dralms is in the forefront at present, he still has some solo material on the go.

"Dralms is definitely my focus, but I'm always writing for both projects," he confirms. "I'll probably play more solo shows featuring songs from Earning Keep in the new year. In the meantime we're all feeling really motivated to work on this Dralms thing." - Exclaim

"What's So Good?"

Vancity isn't exactly known for releasing genre-pushing, edgy electro artists these days. Surf rock? Yes. Cool new songwriters a la SOHN and FYFE? No.

(Side note: what's with all the capitalized stylings of band names these days? Do you want me to shout your name when I tell people about you?)

Anyway, this is what makes the recent appearance of DRALMS so exciting. I'm definitely proud to hear such amazing stuff coming from my hometown. Represent!

"Divisions of Labor" is brooding, atmospheric, calculated, and sultry. Layer upon layer build into an all-encompassing climax -- you can't ask for much more.

DRALMS is the latest project for songwriter Christopher Smith, along with long-time collaborators Shaunn Watt, William Kendrick and Peter Carruthers.

He's playing a couple of shows in BC this summer, including Ponderosa festival, so if you're in the area, don't miss out! He's also working on a new record this fall at Afterlife Studios in Vancouver, BC with John Raham. - Indie Shuffle

"Listen: Dralms - “Crushed Pleats”"

London independent Full Time Hobby have revealed details of their latest signing. Vancouver based Dralms, a collaborative project borne from solo artist Christopher Smith alongside Shaunn Watt and Peter Carruthers from Siskiyou and William Kendrick of Failing.

​Debut single “Crushed Pleats” arrives as a double AA single and is released on 7” / digital formats on September 22. Dark and foreboding with a constant sense of unease, it’s a strong debut and one that hints at a promising full length. Listen below. - The Line of Best Fit

"Album magnifique, surprenant et obsédant, le “Shook” de Dralms est en écoute en avant-première."

Album magnifique, surprenant et obsédant, le “Shook” de Dralms est en écoute en avant-première.
Il faut, parfois, prendre mille précautions avant de pénétrer dans les méandres de certains albums. Celui de Dralms, groupe du Canadien Christopher Smith, par exemple. Plus obsédant, plus impressionnant avec chaque écoute qui révèle, comme des surprises kaléidoscopiques, ses délicats trésors cachés, son Shook n’est ainsi pas qu’un album : il est aussi un trompe-l’œil, un trompe-l’âme, un trompe-tympans.

Shook semble minimal mais ce minimalisme de surface peut, entre les lignes ou plus directement, se dilater en d’impressionnants arrangements. La surface de Shook est synthétique mais son cœur n’est pourtant pas fait de 0 et de 1, mais d’électricité, d’organes palpitants, de sang noir, de plasma fluo. Shook est sombre et crépusculaire, comme a pu l’être celui de Fever Ray, influence affirmée de Smith ; la lumière peut pourtant, aveuglante et belle, surgir à tout instant de ces morceaux abyssaux.

Album protéiforme, surprenant et envoûtant pour quiconque se laissera happer par la rare grâce de ses chansons, le magnifique Shook secoue ainsi effectivement les sens. Il sort la semaine prochaine, mais est en déjà écoute exclusive ici-même. - Les in Rocks


Crushed Pleats (EP - Sept 2014)
Pillars & Pyre (EP - May 2015)
Shook (Single - July 2015)



Dralms is the latest project by Christopher Smith, featuring long time collaborators Shaunn Thomas Watt (Siskiyou), Will Kendrick (Failing) and Peter Carruthers (Siskiyou). With Dralms, Smith departs from his minimal and subdued musical constructions of his previous solo album's to a much more complex and heavier sound. Still led by the cloud-soft vocals of Smith the group veers off into cyclical dub rhythms on "Divisions Of Labour" while the spacey "Crushed Pleats" mixes OK Computer era Radiohead, rising post-rock arrangements and glitched-out electronic tones. Also contributing to the sonic heft of Dralms is producer and electronic artist Andy Dixon (Secret Mommy, Caving), whom Smith had previously trusted with a remix of Earning Keep's "Pillars and Pyre." the extra clicks, echo and ambiance layered onto the songs by the
producer came late in the game, after being recorded by John Raham of Vancouver's Afterlife Studios

"Dralms spits and curses below the sweet top layer. Below, in the miserable underbelly, sits something built to explode under the weight of its own industrial misery." - Portals Music

Band Members