15 November 2015
Drenge - Undertow
A few months ago I was going to a gig with one of my mates who I don't get to see as often as I would like to (jobs, life and all those sort of things get in the way at times) and we were talking about bands we were currently into at that point. During the conversation he mentioned a name of a band which I had been wanting to hear, but for one reason or another I had never gotten around to checking out; as the night went on a few drinks were had, went to the gig (Sleaford Mods as you ask) and I promptly forgot who the hell it was that I was going to check out. Anyway, a few weeks ago I was chatting to him again and he said the magic words - did you check out Drenge by the way? The response was something along the lines of this - THAT IS WHAT THE FUCKING NAME OF THE BAND WAS!!!! But this is beside the point and it brings us to this point. Drenge started off as a two-piece band made up of brothers Eoin and Rory Loveless in 2011, who have recently added Rob Graham to their line-up. This is their second album after their self-titled debut which was released in 2013, they have been a name that keeps cropping up on my list of acts to check out as well as doing many UK festivals and getting lot of press. Now it is time to see how they actually sound......
The album starts off with the track called "Introduction" which is lots of swirling guitar noises and clashes that goes on for just over one minute or so, creating anticipation for the audience as the noises starts to build. Out of the noise comes "Running Wild" which starts off with one of those dirty riffs I love to hear at the beginning of a song, it always means that things are going to have a grunge/post rock influence to the sound and this song does not disappoint at all as soon as it starts. Coming across as the love child of My Bloody Valentine, Boris and Soundgarden, the Loveless brothers have started this album with a killer song that instantly makes you sit up and take attention. "Never Awake" is begins with the sound of pounding drums, a riff that has strong post-rock influence to it and a set of lyrics to become lost in whilst you are looking for a reason behind them. There is no happiness on this song, but it is not designed to be pleasant - it is designed to rock and to support you when emotions are running to high and you need something to release that built up tension to - another class song from this band. "We Can Do What We Want" is a snotty little punk rock song that has been brought up with some blues based Rock n' Roll as well, it is dirty little number that makes you want to jump around the room like a loon and smash it up! Ahem..... Yeah, I really like this song; at this point after three proper track (after the introduction obviously), I am sold on this band as these three tracks are top draw with "We Can Do What We Want" topping that list.
"Favourite Son" keeps the rock 'n' roll vibe mixed with post-grunge vibe flowing as the band take it up a notch and try to smash this out of the park, it wrecks the places like a bull in a china shop. It is a tale of wanting to be loved by a favourite son (obviously) and it has a sick little groove that gets stuck in your head, you just want to repeat it as it goes around like a whirlpool of grunge noise. The breakdown in the middle just adds to the drama and it becomes another strong contender for song of the album. The next track is called "The Snake" and it has a stoner/desert rock vibe to the riff and overall sound on this number, it could easily been wrote by Kyuss or QoTSA to be honest which makes it a surprise it has come out of South Yorkshire. It is a great song, however it is also one of the weaker tracks on the album - so if your weakest song sounds this good, you have obviously have a cracking album on your hands. With clapping "Side by Side" is brought into the world, together with a droning guitar riff that soon is accompanied by a slow and moody drum/bass combo that is different to the high octave garage rock 'n' roll and it rumbles along with as if the storm is swirling around the band until the end which the energy starts to pick up for the last section of the song. It moves around as if tomorrow is only a hope and it sounds as moody as a teenager in a trauma; so obviously I love it and enjoy its teenage kicks.
"The Woods" is a slower number, where the indie rock side of the band is firmly in control; it is a pray of sorts with lots of poetic imagery that mix together to make statements which are open to interpretation and it shows once more that this band do not need to have to distortion peddle fully down each time all the time to make a song that moves the audience. When it is used it is very sparingly and with a minimalist style which is used to show a different strength of the band. A very intriguing song to say the least. With a low sound we have "Undertow" filter into the world, this instrumental track that moves with a menace and builds itself up with a methodical tact. The only problems with this song is that I wish it was longer, it ends as the song was getting very interesting but it is always better to leave the crowd wanting more. "Standing in the Cold" is the penultimate song of the album, it is about here where the mood of the album takes a turn towards sorrow as this heart-breaking number unfolds. It is a dark number which dissects a destructive love that is destined to end in a horrible fashion. It is as dark as the album gets and it is one of the high points of the album, its dark mood is a brilliant addition to this high quality album. Ending the album is "Have You Forgotten My Name" fades in slowly to unveil reveal a final moody moment to end the album, crawling, pounding its way towards the final ending that does not really explode but it does have a final curtain drive towards the end of the song as the final guitar chord rings out. It might not totally win my heart over, but it is a fitting way to end the album.
This album is something I really wish I had have found out about earlier, it is one of the most spectacular records of this year. It is one that is perfect for the darker times of the year, you are shown that even out of the dark gloom that something beautiful can emerge and flourish. The more you listen to it, to better it sounds as it grows before your eyes. How this was missed during some recent award nominations (together with a host of other bands) is beyond me and it just shows that some people know jack shit; if these guys come near you or you have a chance to get the record, stream it or lend it off a friend - do it and then find one of the lost gems of 2015.
8.5 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart
Top song - We Can Do What We Want
You can purchase Undertow from Amazon here
You can visit the Drenge website here
You can follow the activities of Drenge on Facebook here
You can stream Undertow on Deezer here
You can stream Undertow on Tidal here
You can stream Undertow on Spotify here
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