Review Summary: As dreary as it is energeticDrenge
seem to have a talent with picking the most fitting covers to use for their records. Their debut self-titled effort was a simple black and white photograph of a graveyard that’s placed right next to a scrapyard, which perfectly summarizes the dry, almost mean spirited nature of the album. Their latest effort, Undertow
, is much more colorful yet mysterious, which fits very well with the overall tone of the disc.
The dreamy, fuzzy introductory track fades right into “Running Wild”, a song that sounds nothing like its title. Eoin Loveless’ vocals have not change much from the debut; His tone is still very much dreary and near-monotone, which only adds to the dizziness that is created by the echoing, slow churning guitars. The end result is almost spooky, and it makes you intrigued, interested in what’s to come.
Their signature garage punk energy is still very much present throughout the record; “Favorite Son” begins with bludgeoning and, in a way, textured drum fills, which is layered with a guitar riff so grimy you have to clean your ears out after hearing it. When the chorus comes in, drummer Rory Loveless absolutely destroys his drum kit with enough energy to power an entire city. “We Can Do What We Want” is a bit more straight forward, it’s almost a blur musically. Eoin sings at rapid speed, and Rory keeps up with a steady and solid beat, not breaking the tight structure of the song once. In fact, “solid” is perhaps the best way to describe the music found on this record.
“The Woods” is a song that shows a return of the bleakness of their self-titled effort. The guitars sound deeply upset as they drone over Eoin’s bone-weakening moan of “If we fought last night/I can’t remember anything you said”
. Yet again, Rory exemplifies his skills at structuring songs with his tight drumming, giving an extra push to the song. This all builds up to a rather upbeat and seemingly cheery chorus that adds a light-tone to an otherwise melancholy track. “The Woods” might just be the best track on the entire disc for it demonstrates how well the band is at songwriting, musicianship, and their use of mood.
is a continuation of Drenge’s success because it’s a very solid follow-up to their already fantastic debut. It’s an exciting record to listen to and it makes you ecstatic to hear more. Of course, there’s the usual missteps here and there, such as forgettable tracks, but overall, Undertow
is an album that should not be skipped.