Drunkdriver are surrounded by an incredibly unfortunate situation. Allegedly, the drummer for the threepiece was the perpetrator of a very shady incident 5 years ago; and by “very shady,” I mean rape. With one of the band members being female, this accusation, which popped up via the internet in early 2010, was bound to create some tension within the band. Unfortunately, this nagging incident eventually spelled Drunkdriver’s demise before the release of their latest, a self-titled LP. The validity of the accusation is up for debate, but the aftereffects of the incident are clear-cut. Drunkdriver will probably be overshadowed by the rape controversy, even though they remain fairly unknown.
From my perspective, the tragedy of the situation is compounded yet further when realized that Drunkdriver
is a hardcore album worth every bit of praise they’re unlikely to receive as a result of the shi
Alas, Drunkdriver managed to go out with a bang. The album is delightfully repulsive- it revels in a hardcore aesthetic more reminiscent of a few years ago; but make no mistake, it also feels fu
cking fresh. While Drunkdriver
tends to walk the dangerous line of “derivative” from time to time, there’s enough evidence of excruciatingly grating punk magnitude to balance it out. Example: there’s a coherent chaotic factor that propels every song into the next, like everything is packed together too damn tightly. Fast and abrasive are the obvious cliches to describe Drunkdriver
, but the album calls for a little more specificity. What’s more striking than the rock/hardcore hybrid’s ability to assault ears, though, is a knack for making it lucid and listenable. So while Drunkdriver create enough sparks to start the fire, they keep things to a controlled burn that doesn’t become convoluted or engulfed within itself. With more repetition, Drunkdriver builds more cogency around the pandemonium of screams. The drumming is spectacularly consistent, even if it doesn’t break the “hardcore” mold as much as other aspects of the band do. Listen to “Choking Hazard” to gain a fair sense of the ferocity the band is capable of, and then expand that experience into 9 songs. Basically, you come out feeling like you’ve just been mugged, slugged in the stomach, and chased through the woods. Listening to “Halfmast” or “All The Dead Dogs,” you get this unbridled sense of urgency, it’s more than enough to make the most grounded listener jittery. That’s definitely the dissonant band’s goal though- to set you on edge. Clocking in at less than a half hour though, Drunkdriver never completely push you over the edge of the plank - they have the wherewithal to know their boundaries, thankfully. With all the reverb and pure caustic, hardcore, fury, even just one more song would have been too much.
If you’re tired of all the big-name, high-profile indie releases of 2010 that are making Pitchfork hard as a diamond, take a moment out of your day to test your limits. As unsympathetic as Drunkdriver
is on the ears, it might not be pleasant in the traditional sense; but I can guarantee you’ll come out the other side of the acerbic exploit a tad more satisfied than you did going in.