‘Bonfire of the City Boys’, the opener of Drenge’s third outing Strange Creatures, kicks off like a downbeat ‘Parklife’, with an anxious monologue spoken over a throbbing bass riff deriding the “millions of people out there fucking, fighting, eating and sleeping.” Masses which, singer Eoin Loveless (great name) assures us, we are not among. The album sets its stall out early here; its antisocial lyrics bristling out against the world at large, from schoolchildren vomiting up canteen dinners in ‘Prom Night’ to androids dreaming of being naked in public in lead single ‘Autonomy’. These wry, twisted lyrics are aided and abetted by grating, distorted guitar hooks, which ensure that the mood, even in the absence of Loveless’s verbal attacks, never drops below sinister.
Though the album keeps the same pulsating riffs and uneasy atmosphere of Drenge’s past outings, tracks like the album’s titular ‘Strange Creatures’ see the trio moving into new sonic spaces, pushing their style past their guttural drawls towards high-pitched chants and reverberating vocal loops. So, while at first glance Strange Creatures may seem like an obvious next step creatively, its nonetheless an inventive one, and hints that Drenge are a band still testing their muscles.
[Ronan Duff – @Ronan_Duff]