Drew Holcomb’s steady songcraft has slowly but surely charted a course toward an expansive sound since he first arrived with his band, The Neighbors, nearly 15 years ago. His latest album, Dragons, follows suit with an anthemic album that maintains the requisite spiritual depth and communal sentiments with vast instrumentation.
Holcomb says in a press release for Dragons that the album was largely inspired by the quote, “Always be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” The 11-song set documents the battles surrounding Holcomb on all sides, with numerous songs inspired by his family. From the loss of his brother in 1999 (“You Never Leave My Heart”) to treatises of longing for his children (“See The World”) and wife (“But I’ll Never Forget The Way You Make Me Feel”), Holcomb’s songs feel personal in their hopes and struggles, even as he follows his Americana roots, power pop, or newer synth-pop leanings.
Holcomb has always had a unique yet straightforward way of recognizing the world’s dual (or dueling) reality. His catalog has long celebrated the beauty of a new day or the natural world around him even as he laments a heart that’s broken or the fleeting nature of life. Dragons finds two ways to nod to that tension. On “End of the World,” he acknowledges the bleak while encouraging listeners to “raise up your glass and revel while it lasts.” On the closing track, “Bittersweet,” he takes a more pensive turn before setting the listener free. “What you always wanted won’t always be around / It’s bittersweet … Every curtain falls eventually.”