There aren’t too many instrumental albums that I willingly choose to listen to over some of my favorite bands on my iPhone. Every once in a while, I am in the mood to play an instrumental album, but never more than a few times, only to inevitably be removed from my phone in a week’s time. All that has changed, though, with Draw Me A Sheep’s newest album “Premier Pas.” This album has been on my phone ever since I was introduced to them, and I have no plans to remove them any time soon.
Hailing from France, this instrumental/technical/djent/progressive metal band consists of Anthony Fleire and Victor Minois on guitars, Maxime Roy on the bass, and Jeremy Ferrer on the drums. With all those hyphens in the previous sentence, readers should know that their influences are not restricted to those alone, considering the number of jazzy moments in the album among other things. With an interesting flavor of sound, I can easily picture a mix between Animals as Leaders, Between the Buried and Me, and The Aristocrats; the technicality from the prior, and the melodic storytelling of the latter. For an album lasting just over 30 minutes long, “Premier Pas” feels longer than most instrumental albums, probably because of how into the album I get with every listen.
For a debut first album, I applaud the songwriting and compositions of Draw Me A Sheep. Not too many bands are able to pull of a high-quality album on their first try, especially from those bands that are more on the technical side. I’ve heard albums from such bands in the past, always remarking how they succeeded in technicality, but failed in accessibility. Draw Me A Sheep, on the other hand, is a band that excels in both, providing intricate and flawless execution while providing a smooth and clever direction. Take the opening track “Bienvenue,” a two minute introduction showing examples of what the listener will hear throughout the album. With some swells of synthesizers, booming bass lines, delayed guitar, and complex drum arrangements, Draw Me A Sheep shows what they’re capable of, and cleverly lead their thought into the next song “Twist and Icecream.” With such a diverse sound including trumpet sections, the band creates a fun, colorful experience that leaves us all wondering what to expect next.
The entire album follows this pattern, with each song containing their own “theme.” The song “Uncle Hillbilly” starts off with the clucking of chickens and other barnyard friends, but eventually leads into a deep riffy verse complimented with banjos in the chorus (Yeehaw!). “The Last Floor” creates a scene of going up an elevator, characterized by the sounds of footsteps and elevator doors arriving. We are treated with a calmer, jazzy number highlighting the amazing bass lines of Roy. As we step off though, the next song “Behind The Elevator” continues the theme with panting breaths and a gasp, only to pick up the intensity with a bridge section reminiscent of Dream Theater’s “The Enigma Machine.” “Old Coffee Bar” has the listener travel to a different setting, uniting a heavier verse section with a softer chorus. Both guitarists shine on this song with fret-tapping solos and dual rhythm sections. The album closes with its longest and heaviest song ”Westward Crossing,” giving a sense of riding on a train in the opening and closing seconds. This song is easily my favorite because it shows each member at their finest individually and collectively. What a way to end an album!
When listening to “Premier Pas,” I cannot help but single out one particular member: Jeremy Ferrer on the drums. All it took was the brutal double-bass section in the first song “Bienvenue.” Reminding me of Blake Richardson from Between the Buried and Me (one of my personal favorites), I cannot help but turn up the volume during those moments he shines. The fills he creates between song sections is tremendous, and is worthy of a listen alone. With that bombastic sound, Ferrer increases the intensity of the band, and raises the album to a whole other level.
Whether you’re an instrumental fan or not, I highly urge you all to check out Draw Me A Sheep’s “Premier Pas.” It’s intricate, it’s fierce, it’s fun. For fans of bands like those mentioned previously. Please support this band by checking out their Youtube channel, and by following them on Facebook and Twitter for band updates. I am looking forward to their next release, which I know will be just as adventurous as this one.
Check out this Youtube video featuring the song “Westward Bound”: