DRENGE – Drenge
aaamusic | On 28, Aug 2013
Drenge; a deranged punk duo consisting of brothers Rory and Eoin Loveless offer their triumphant hard hitting self titled debut LP, that is over flowing with punk attitude and aggression, touching on typical punk themes and bringing to music; innovation and images of the grotesque. Elements of the old school punk legends shine through from the outset with lead singer Eoin contorting and twisting his voice in the manner of The Cramps’ Lux Interior and the legendary Iggy Pop in songs such as ‘People in love make me feel yuck’ and ‘Dogmeat’. Added to this are fearless guitar riffs to rival Jack White at his best and elements of blues comparable to that of The Black Keys. There are numerous influences from various genres of music here however Drenge’s sound is entirely unique and firmly rooted in the British Punk scene reminiscent of acts such as Blood Red Shoes and Pulled Apart by Horses.
Despite consisting of only two members, a guitar and a drum set, Drenge’s sound is full and incredible vigorous. Opener ‘People in love make me feel yuck’, displays several aspects of punk; grungy, violent lyrics- ‘I broke the skin of my teeth, on the steps to the church, I put my hands in the air, you crushed my knuckles to dust’- sleazy, sex drenched guitar hooks and lyrical content, raucous vocals, driving drum beats and a grimy guitar solo. The song has a rawness that effortlessly grabs your attention and flawlessly sets the tone of the album. ’Dogmeat’ is equally twisted in its deliverance displaying Drenge’s fearless attitude to song writing giving way to distorted fuzz and unhinged lyrics as Eoin sings ‘cut up my tongue, turn it to dogmeat, give it to the hobo give him words to eat’. ‘I wanna break you in half’ feels like it belongs on a Motorhead album, with fast paced guitars, driving percussion and gravelly vocals and is a definite highlight of the album. ‘Bloodsports’ offers some inventive guitar playing, energetic percussion and a sense of urgency and tension that is maintained throughout, owing to the twisted and sinister sounding guitar hooks. The drumming is relentless and supports the guitar with great intensity, as the song begs for a release that never seems to arrive, zigging when you expect it to zag.
The energy remains high in ‘Blackwater’ with grinding guitar hooks and harmonies which add a sense of eeriness to the track. ‘Gun Crazy’, delivers a sense of reckless abandon reminiscent of the robust sound of an early Blood Red Shoes track and provides an intense crunching guitar solo. The album takes a surprising turn with ‘I don’t wanna make love to you’, which takes Willie Dixon-penned Etta James hit ‘I Just Want To Make Love To You’ and turns it inside out. This song is succinct and fuelled by irony culminating in a perfectly quirky blues/punk hybrid that doesn’t lose its raw edge. ‘Bye Bye Bao Bao’, is the first instance of calm delivered by Drenge as percussion is abandoned leaving vocalist Eoin to sing over s fuzzy mass of distorted sound. This calm is brief with the song lasting a total of 1 minute 12 seconds, leading into the sinister sounding ‘Let’s Pretend’.
‘Fuckabout’ is a highly surprising shift of atmosphere, utilizing clean guitar and conveys a light heartedness that is highly unexpected given what has preceded it. The song expresses a hopelessness as Eoin sings ‘I don’t give a fuckk, about people in love, They don’t piss me off, they just make me give up’ as Drenge close the album on a dismal note. Nonetheless, the energy and enthusiasm throughout Drenge is entirely unrestricted and the Loveless brothers deliver a ferocious no holds barred attitude that erupts in a rampant, unbridled wave of sound that is unrivalled in today’s music scene.
Shane O Neill