Album Review: Drenge – Undertow

I was first introduced to Drenge when I heard their single Bloodsports played on Radio 6 Music. I was instantly attracted to their unique blend of post-grunge and punk…

A youthful, raw garage rock sound but nonetheless a sound that you can imagine blasting from a main stage at big festival. When Bloodsports was released Drenge was made up of just two members, brothers Eoin and Rory Loveless. Eoin handling the vocals and guitar, and Rory on the drums. With the release of their new album Undertow, Drenge welcomes a new member to their roster, bassist Rob Graham. What a great addition it is too! Whilst I loved the rawness of the duo in their previous releases, the added bass just makes the band sound so much bigger and adds a layer of maturity to their sound without compromising the band’s youthful rebellious tone.
With the release of Undertow it feels like Drenge are really coming into their own. There is still enough of the boyish mayhem that made their older material so popular, particularly with the heavily punk-influenced tracks like We Can Do What We Want, but Undertow has a more polished and refined feel than the band’s previous efforts. The album’s titular track came as a particular surprise to me, entirely instrumental, it would almost feel more at home on an Explosions In The Sky release, and yet it fits nicely with the flow of the album. Enough variety to keep things fresh, but not so much as to make the album seem disjointed.
For me, the standout track on the album is Never Awake. A wonderful driving riff that gets your head nodding, then leading into a Nirvana-esque refrain, with some of the most poignant and relatable lyrics on the album. I feel that Never Awake is going to be in heavy rotation for the coming months. It’s quite the departure from previous tracks like Nothing which are great in their own right, but lyrically and musically I’m pleased to say I’m enjoying the direction the band are taking. It’s a daunting move when a band moves to a more polished and produced sound, one sure to irritate some fans, but with this move comes some murky darkness in the music that is so satisfying. A feeling that wasn’t present in previous records.
I don’t think Undertow is a complete game-changer for Drenge but certainly a solid album and a great step in a positive direction. For fans of droning vocals and powerful distorted guitar riffs, it’s a must buy. They may not be there just yet, but Drenge have the potential to make some truly incredible music, and with Undertow they make a start.

Author – Luke, Leicester store