Drenge – 'Strange Creatures' Album Review

February 28, 2019

Tracklist:

1. Bonfire Of The City Boys

2. This Dance

3. Autonomy

4. Teenage Love

5. Strange Creatures

6. Prom Night

7. No Flesh Road

8. Never See The Signs

9. Avalanches

10. When I Look Into Your Eyes

 

Though the promotional material of the Derbyshire brother duo features the lead singer/ guitarist dressing up as a Karaoke-singing robot; Drenge deliver a very human orientated album. Lyrically the band touch on aspects of living and being young in the 21st Century, and with some fine production skills a well balanced LP has been created beholding elements from the genre of Alternative music as well as Rock, Punk, and Avant-Gard/ Experimental. Mixing this with the band's classic heavy guitar and drum playing topped off with an overall sort of Classic Nouveaux-80s feel, Drenge manage to deliver something fresh in their genre and as a collection of music for the general listener.

 

1. Bonfire Of the City Boys

 

Sonically this song sounds like a blend of popular Punk band IDLES with the aggressive, poetic lyrics of Sleaford Mods. The simplicity of the drum beat and bassline contrasts with the spoken word dialogue resulting in a great start to the LP. As the opening words to this song suggest, this album literally “starts with a bang”.

 

2. This Dance

Being one of the more light-hearted songs of the album, this was apparently written after the brothers of the band attended a wedding and took over the dancefloor*. The feeling of dancing likethere’s no tomorrow is assimilated into the chorus of the song with its catchy riff and choral lyric of“...a moment in the movement, something to prove we can dance”.

 

3. Autonomy

Despite this tune having an air of Franz Ferdinand, it is true evidence of the band’s progression fromtheir first two albums. From an initial listen it sounds as though they are using synths from the intro and onwards; but it’s actually well-engineered guitars to sound like electronic keys.

Lyrically “Autonomy” discusses being autonomous in the modern day. Though the general theme of the song discusses the life of a robot, I feel as though it leads towards the notion of some people becoming alienated from each other and society due to technology and smartphones filling our brains with fake news, endless social media feeds and sometimes useless information. However, with witty lyrics such as “Do androids dream of electric sheep or being naked in public and missingteeth?”; this is 21st Century songwriting at its best.

 

4. Teenage Love

 

With it’s interesting compound time signature and continuation of the synth-like guitars this songpoints a nostalgic finger to the band’s younger days, whether that be an ode to relationships that they had or the sugary snacks and food that they ate as teenagers. It reminisces about the past with its punny chorus of “...my teenage love is just a whisper in my ears”.

 

5. Strange Creatures

 

Featuring an eerie introduction, the album title track is a great song with a Halloween vibe; filled with echoing delays and overdriven guitar playing throughout.

 

6. Prom Night

 

“Prom Night” is a song that combines the production elements of this album with past songwriting efforts such as “Fuckabout” [See 'Drenge', debut album by Drenge]. If this couldn’t be any better, they add a soothing saxophone part way through the piece to calm the listener halfway through the album’s overall narrative. The nostalgia from “Teenage Love” returns in “Prom Night” with its detailed description of a UK school dance night, perhaps bringing back memories of this cringy occasion for the listener.

 

7. No Flesh Road

 

The quirky electronic drum beat and tuneful lyrics of this track create a tune that transports the listener to a zombie-apocalyptic-esque world. The hypothetical “No Flesh Road” is brilliantly described throughout the song, and it’s a great lead up to the next piece on the album...

 

8. Never See The Signs

 

“Never See The Signs” is lyrically quite pessimistic and cynical, however, it seems to be a personal response to the themes and topics Drenge have sung about in the album. With Eoin, the lead singer, reciting “I’m so desperate I heard it through the grapevine” and the chorus of “It’s so serious in here, It’s so claustrophobic. Get me out of here”, it nods a head to the subjects of “Autonomy” and “Teenage Love”: perhaps suggesting that the days of the past were better in a strange, old-fashioned way.

 

9. Avalanches

 

One of the few slow-jams of the album, this song possesses the more fuzzed up guitar that featureson Drenge’s previous work.

 

10. When I Look Into Your Eyes

 

Like the initial song on the album, “When I Look Into Your Eyes” is another great track that ties inwith the themes and instrumentation of the record. The repetitive A Capella backing vocal introduces the piece and it continues throughout, providing a pleasant sounding foundation for the acoustic guitar and lead vocals later in the track. Though many songs in this day and age are about love, Drenge manage to put a twist on this style of song by adding a spooky omen to it.

 

Drenge’s new album is a show of their progression in sound; their own style of songwriting combined with the well-produced music makes this an album to listen to, whether you’re an angsty teen or an adult wanting to let off some steam. Tracks such as “Autonomy”, “Never See The Signs” and “This Dance” provide a head-bop for those who are more inclined to listen to popular music,whilst “Prom Night”, “Bonfire Of The City Boys” and “When I Look Into Your Eyes”, (as well as the other album tracks), are musical pieces showing off the bands constant development in dexterity.

Website - www.drenge.co.uk

 

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ddrreennggee/

 

Review - Jak Dominic

 

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