Brutalism is truly pop at its core, with thoroughly modern production and Pierce’s newfound tenderness. Back in The Drums' previous iterations, the pressure was on Pierce to maintain the innocent and nostalgic sound of this surf-pop indie band and it didn't allow him to explore sex, drug use, darker emotions or how he felt currently. Lyrically, Brutalism is another giant step in that direction, and is defined by vulnerability. That's why you can dance to Brutalism, you can cry to Brutalism, and you can laugh to it too.
The album is defined by growth, transformation and questions, but it doesn't provide all the answers. It’s rooted in an emotional rawness, but its layers are soft, intricate and warm, full of exquisitely crafted pop songs that blast sunlight and high energy in the face of anxiety, solitude and crippling self-doubt. “I don't think I'll ever really find myself,” he says. “I don't think people do. I don't think there's a day that you wake up and you go, Now I know who I am. The best way for me to be an artist is by taking a goddamn minute, being still and listening to what it is that I want and need.” It was a real year of growth for him, but growth towards what? “I don't really know, and that's OK.”