With the early 2010’s shedding light on many two-piece bands, such as Royal Blood and Slaves, a far more underrated band came to the fore in the form of Drenge, consisting of brothers Eoin and Rory Loveless, blowing many a music-lover away in 2013 with the release of their self-titled debut album as well as a collaboration with Blood Red Shoes.
The band then adopted another member in 2015, with bassist and backing vocalist Rob Graham. While this put an end to Drenge’s two-man band status, it allowed their second album Undertow to have much more depth and uniqueness as opposed to the raw sound of 2013, which I feel would’ve gone stale if the band continued down that path.
The coming of this album was sort of heralded in a very interesting way last year with an EP titled Autonomy. It features four tracks, with only the EP’s title track being picked to go on 2019’s Strange Creatures. The third full-length record from Drenge is one that showcases just how far the band has come and how radically their style has evolved since their early days.
Before this album was released, we were treated to five great teaser tracks. The first obviously being the previously mentioned ‘Autonomy’ off the 2018 EP, along with ‘Bonfire of the City Boys’, ‘This Dance’, ‘Never See The Signs’ and the title track ‘Strange Creatures’. While these teaser tracks make up half of the full album, it was very nice to see all this build up towards the album ever since the release of that Autonomy EP.
Now that the album is finally here, I am definitely not disappointed with the result. The album’s music is generally more downbeat and more mature sounding. Honestly, Drenge really makes this work. There is also a noticeably retro and Americanised atmosphere to the whole thing, which is another thing that’s championed by the band. In a weird way, I think a good way to describe the range of tracks is that they’re like a collection of antiques, with each of them being very interesting, while also having that old-school quality to them.
Other than the teaser tracks, the new songs that I’m currently gravitating towards include ‘No Flesh Road’ with its awesome progression and catchy lyrics and the album’s last track ‘When I Look Into Your Eyes’, which has some very cool sounding vocal harmonies throughout.
However, I feel that the best song on the album might just have to be ‘Prom Night’, which tells a story of a high-school prom progressing into a horrific massacre. The progression of the music perfectly matches the progression of the story, and it effortlessly immersed me into the scenario created in the song. With Eoin proclaiming, “It was like Halloween” and the haunting saxophone melody that follows giving off a perfectly spooky and ominous vibe, while also having a very 80s atmosphere to it. I think this song does the best job of exploiting all of the finest aesthetic elements of the album as a whole.
When all is said and done, Strange Creatures is a well-conceived and brilliantly promoted piece that the band can really be proud of, and one that will surely appear as a milestone in their musical career.