Driver Friendly

Bury A Dream

Written by: TL on 06/05/2012 21:15:12

Driver Friendly are a septet from Austin, Texas that I recently decided to check out based solely on the ground that I thought they had a cool band name. From what I've been reading, the band used to be known merely as Driver F and played sort of a pop-punk with horns, but if there's one reason I'm happy to have explored their new album "Bury A Dream" it's probably that "pop-punk with horns" doesn't even begin to cover what these dudes are up to. In fact I'm not even quite sure what would begin to cover the sound of this band, whose music defies any attempts to find accurate references within my mental library of bands. On one hand "Bury A Dream" sounds much too elegant and artistic to fit within the tight confines of the pop-punk genre, and yet it is also much too energetic and genuinely excited to sit still next to most of the cool and distanced bands you normally find in indie.

It seems to me then, that with "Bury A Dream" Driver Friendly are exploring new frontiers in between the territories of pop-punk and indie-rock. The relatively anonymous intro "Manivelle" sends them off, and the opening one-two of "Ghosts" and "Messidona" then proceeds to plot a promising course for the band. Sounding bouncy, energetic, electrifying and exhilarating, "Ghosts" lifts the its responsibility as single and moves into the mind quickly with its exchange of catchy chanted refrain and playful keyboard/guitar signature. The band's horn section then makes itself noticed in the similarly fleet-footed - and excellently titled? - "Messidona" which builds tension marvelously with a particularly memorable pre-chorus.

So as far as good starts go, "Bury A Dream" gets off to a great one. It's sort of a shame then, that following numbers "Do Whatever You Want" and "Younce Creek" seem to have the band barking up the same tree for slightly too long, with slightly less magic to it, albeit both songs are still quite enjoyable simply qua the band's fresh sound. Central track "Shark Cave" refinds the magic somewhat though, and yet I think it's a good thing when "Stare Into The Darkness" signals a change of pace and a slightly darker, more contemplative tone leading into the next part of the album. And if you were starting to think the band had run out of ideas beyond mirth and a danceable beat, "Harsh, Harsh, Harsh" is the track to prove that Driver Friendly have a deeper side to them, growing a more wild, threatening mood and flips the melody of "Ghosts"' refrain so that it reappears more strongly stated than before.

While things gradually get less intense as the remaining three songs lead the album out to the light on the other side of the storm, it is primarily in "Harsh, Harsh, Harsh" that Driver Friendly manage to show how deep they can reach when the horns and keys are at their best, and here they paint a vivid, nuanced soundscape for the band's positive energies to run wild in. And truth be told, if I have one grief over an album that has drawn me back frequently, it is that I don't think the band explores the range of their possibilities enough. Like I hinted earlier, "Bury A Dream" is a great listen simply for its unique sound and contagious energy, but the moments when the band really tip their hand makes it feel like it's only an appertizer for even more ambitious and exciting things to come.


Download: Ghosts; Messidona; Harsh, Harsh, Harsh; Stare Into The Darkness
For The Fans Of: danceable, horn-backed indie/pop/punk that sounds sort of like nothing you're likely to have heard before

Release Date 24.04.2012

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