Drama Club Rejects are the latest venture by Nick Parsons, formally the vocalist/guitarist in the 90's Punk Metal band Whatever. He was also the guitarist in The Almighty for a couple of albums too. Joining him are Stesh on guitar, Nash on bass and Stidi (formally of The Wildhearts and The Jellys). Stidi also played with Nick in Whatever and, as both bands are stylistically very similar, this could maybe have been released as a reunion album under that name. I guess they want to go forward as something new and fresh. While Drama Club Rejects ARE similar to Whatever, they're more strreamlined and smoother sounding. Whatever had a bit of a kitchen sink approach that didn't always work, the reggae sections in Falling Away for example, but that's all been ironed out here.
King of 2nd Chances kicks things off and sets the scene with what to expect from the rest of the album. It features both a bouyant riff that and a memorable chorus. It'd make a great single at some point. Oddly, it's written as King Of Second Of Chances on the back of the CD which I'm going to assume is a mistake .Following that is 1 Day Week which is similar in pace to King Of 2nd Chances but is more bitter and aggressive. Solarflare is the longest song on the albums thanks to an extended finale but is just as acerbic and frenetic as the songs before. The chorus is gloriously anthemic too.
Space Invaders slows the pace just a little but adds a lot more melody until the fantastic pre-chorus sees Nicks screaming 'Liars!'. It's a really good song and probably the best so far. I Wanna Be Your Everything is frustrating. Its starts off well with a cool little riff and the verses are satisfiyingly spiteful but unfortunately the chorus falls a bit flat. It just drops down the pace and is the title repeated. That isn't a bad thing in itself but it just disappointed me after the promise of the rest of the song.
Next up is the nearest thing to a ballad on the album, Homesick Alien. It starts with some nice jingly Indie Rock guitars and has a touch of Bowling For Soup to it. it slowly builds up pace but always stays fairly restrained. I love the mantra that runs through it of "Chasing dreams in outer space" and the final cascading guitar harmonies are pretty cool too.
|Nick 'not cool enough for a nickname' Parsons, Nash, Stidi and Stesh|
Idiot Brigade tones down the Metal for melody and is all the better for it. It's probably the most infectious song on offer and has a massive chorus. I'm pretty sure it's an anti-religion song. I assume that's what "The greatest of human lies" refers to. Following that is the lead track Kickin' A Hole which showcases their sound well with more chunky riffs and a memroable chorus. There's a nice little breakdown halfway through too with some almost Thrash Metal riffing. You can see the video for it at the end of this review. I don't believe it cost a lot of money to make..,
The final two songs then are Hate Song and Wish You Were Here. The first is a predictably agressive and vitriolic but with a surprisingly melodic chorus. I really like the backing vocals in this one too. Wish You Were Here adds a Rock n' Roll twist and even gets a bit Quo in places. I la-lala-like it. Sorry. I dunno if it just stands out because its so different to the others but I keep going back to this song and it's the one that's really got tuck in my head.
They may no longer be Whatever but it's great to have Nick and Stidi back together again and also that they've returned with such a strong album, particularly the last four tracks. Apart from a few minor quibbles there's not much to fault here and certainly no filler tracks. From what I hear they're no slouches live either so it'll be worth keeping eye out for them if they come your way (presumably just in the UK).
8 out of 10 - Oh now you have my attention and maybe money, time and heart
Best Track - Wish You Were Here
You can listen, buy digital and hard copies of the album from BandCamp HERE
You can like their Facebook page HERE
And just for fun, here's an old Whatever video from 20 years ago too. their debut (and only) single Hooked On Monday. Nick's changed a bit since then!