Drenge

Drenge

Written by: TL on 26/09/2013 20:11:19

Once upon a time, Castleton brothers Eoin and Rory Loveless were involved in a soccer match against some Danish boys, who kept shouting something along the lines of "Kom nu drenge!". It simply means "C'mon boys!", but it made enough of an impression on the Loveless brothers that they decided to use "Drenge" when they were naming the two-man group they started in 2011; One which had gathered enough hype to be allowed a spot on Roskilde Festival lineup this year, even before the release of last month's self-titled debut album.

The lads trade in a highly riff-centric, intentionally low-fi sounding, garage-y blues rock; One which has a gloomy rawness to it that could lead you to mistakingly lump them in with the post-punk revival trend, when really the attitude-filled guitar licks that Eoin delivers could just as easily have been on a record by Arctic Monkeys or Band Of Skulls. The exception to the similarity being that with only Rory's organic drumming and some effect pedals to complete the band's minimalist arsenal, spicing things up falls mainly on the back-and-forth between Eoin's riffing and his singing. Fortunately then, rather than invoking your traditionally schreeching rock'n'roller, the elder brother delivers an unmistakeably British, lethargic drawl, which manages to come off as sort of a permantly understated threat, even when he rises to more Nirvana-ish, despondent howls.

His vocals then, are likely partly responsible for Drenge's popularity, but only really in the way they provide a surprising coating to the duo's main talent, namely the playing of a badass rock that's tempered beyond the band's age. Instead of galloping across the plains and going for broke at every moment, "Drenge" is a record that's at its best when the band displays a keen understanding for when to let the tempo drag its feet so the ring of the riffs can really sink in.

A great examples of this comes when the up-beat, Arctic Monkeys-ish rejection of "I Don't Want To Make Love To You" gives way to the traditionally bluesy verse of "Nothing", which crawls along patiently before Eoin stomps his pedals and lets rip in a thickly distorted main riff to remember. It's a highlight that's only topped by the album's best song "Bloodsports", which contrasts it with a more fleet-footed tempo and an almost Queens Of The Stone Age-ish swagger to it's riffs and twists, and moreover, with some deceptively catchy vocal melodies.

While hardly all of the songs make as strong an impression as "Bloodsports" does, "Drenge" remains an album full of solid and varied tracks, with "I Want To Break You In Half" providing more up-tempo, more angry lyrics - "[...] make you piss your pants.. I WANNA BREAK YOU IN HALF!" - and another buzz saw main riff, while the lengthy, depressing grunge of "Let's Pretend" wallows in a bleakness that recalls Nirvana or perhaps some of Cloud Nothing's darker moments. All together, the songs add up to an album which ranges from a modest "solid" to a respectful "awesome", and with the style being relatively hard to compare directly to many other bands, it's easy to see why Drenge have been getting some hype of late. On the other hand, it's also easy to worry about how Eoin and Rory will continue to handle their inherent limitations as a two-piece... But then if more songs like "Bloodsports" and "Nothing" are on the menu, it's possible that won't even ever become an issue.

Download: Bloodsports, I Want To Break You In Half, Nothing,
For The Fans Of: Arctic Monkeys, Band Of Skulls, Cloud Nothings, The Vines
Listen: facebook.com/drengeboys

Release Date 12.08.2013
Infectious Music UK

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