- 22 Feb 19
English rockers deliver doom and gloom on third LP.
“It started with a bang!” is the first line of Drenge’s Strange Creatures, and it’s appropriate. The band waste no time, kicking off with ‘Bonfire Of The City Boys’, a post-punk stomper blending sinister guitars with intense, spoken word lyrics and screaming.
This intensity continues through the first half. Angry and fast, ‘This Dance’ sounds like early Arctic Monkeys but heavier – no surprise, given that Drenge’s producer, Ross Orton, has collaborated with the group’s Sheffield contemporaries, as well as The Fall, who are also an influence. The bouncier, upbeat – though still loud – ‘Autonomy’ showcases the band’s witty lyrics: “You’re just too good to be true/ Doesn’t that mean there is something wrong with you?” There’s more fun to be had on ‘Teenage Love’, in its refusal of conventional romance, and ‘Prom Night’, with its warped tale of a debs gone wrong, Carrie-style. In the second half, the album slows noticeably and some of the its emo-undertones become repetitive.
On ‘Never See The Signs’, singer Eoin Loveless (even the name sounds goth) complains: “I’m so cold people call me reptile”; meanwhile, on the title track, he sounds like a vampiric, lovelorn Morrissey. No wonder Drenge have described the album as a “horror movie on wax”.
These latter songs offer listeners a rest following the frenzy of the first half. But when Drenge are capable of being so thrilling, who needs a rest?