Driver Side Impact

Lion

Written by: TL on 25/11/2008 00:13:56

If you're one of those people who enjoy finding emo diamonds in the rough, cherishing them before they inevitably break up (see Anias) or sell out in favour of a more mainstream alt rock sound (see Matchbox Romance), this review is going to be of special interest to you. However, I recommend that you don't read it till you've actually gotten a hold of Driver Side Impact's sophomore album "Lion", so that you may begin appreciate them before any of said things happen to them.

The strange thing about this band is that despite this being their second album, they still sound like a band on one of their first EP's, and I mean that in a mostly positive way. Their classic second generation emo should initially appear as a slightly poppy version of Armor For Sleep, however the effects and keyboard melodies that linger in the back of their sound, seemingly drawing inspiration directly from bands like Hellogoodbye or Motion City Soundtrack, draws the expression towards an overall comparison to A Heartwell Ending.

On this album, Driver Side Impact use this hybrid sound to showcase their talent for soaring melodies and emotive vocal work, while unfortunately not managing to cover up their weakness while they're at it. That being the fact that as songwriters, the band still has a bit of way left to go before they can really knock us over. The best example of this is served bright and early in the form of the opener "Walking On Water" that, despite having some lines that should hit fans of second generation emo right in the heart, seems to make very little sense in terms of composition. This impression flaws the first three songs equally, and they seem like pretty straightforward emo/poppunk done by a band that may be a bit too eager to get through their own verse so that they can get to the chorus. In "Patience (Give It Up)" for example, the band barely squeeze in four lines of lyrics before getting to the first chorus a 0:30, which I find to be blowing their load a bit early in a song that's almost 4 minutes long.

At track four, the interlude "The Ties That Bind And Break Within" seems a bit weird, but really it's good that it awakens your curiosity, so you're ready to pay attention to the title track "Lion", when it makes its mark with a catchy guitar riff in the opening, and a generally high level of energy throughout. "Elysium" then gives you hints of "Stay What You Are"-era Saves The Day, and for the rest of the album, the expression bounces back and forth between sounding like them, A Heartwell Ending and early Armor For Sleep.

All in all, "Lion" is a pretty decent album, by a band that's remarkable for sounding strangely 'true' to a period in emo's history that most other bands seem to have left for dead. The songwriting is far from perfect and the same goes for the production, which I guess makes for part of the feeling of this band being younger than one that's releasing their sophomore, and effectively it's not exactly album of the year material. Rather, it is the kind of album where you'll enjoy the songs and their odd bit of catchy vocals and melodies while you have it on, either as a spur of the moment thing or as an incident of random rotation, even if you won't find yourself coming back to it on a regular basis.

7

Download: Lion, Walking On Water, All For Nothing
For The Fans Of: Armor For Sleep, A Heartwell Ending, A Thorn For Every Heart, Everdae
Listen: myspace.com/driversideimpact

Release Date 28.10.2008
Victory Records

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