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Album Review: Undertow by Drenge

Before Royal Blood came along and made the mainstream press take notice of two-piece rock acts again, Drenge had carved out a niche in the post-grunge genre and were sending waves through the alt-rock scene with their 2013 self titled debut. The Derbyshire duo returns with their sophomore effort Undertow.

The brilliantly named Loveless brothers, come up with another superb album with Undertow. It’s full of grungey riffs, grooves and a kind of reckless abandon that takes you on a thrilling journey over its 37 minutes. This is the ideal marker on how a duo can make a huge sounding album without treading water and sounding like a stale middle of the road rock band.

‘Running Wild’ and ‘Never Awake’ are proper big grunge songs. Both sound sonically massive. The swagger behind each track makes you want to move and throw yourself into the song. ‘Favourite Son’ is a real album highlight, the fuzzy guitar riffs are infectious and Eoin Loveless’ vocal takes you back to the grunge highpoints of the early 90s.

‘The Snake’ is one of the finest alt-rock tracks released this year. The groove is instantaneous, suckering you in and making you fall in love with the track. It’s plainly obvious that the sound of Drenge is extremely tight and of the highest calibre, yet there’s a punk energy behind each track giving off the air that they don’t give a fuck. It is the ‘I don’t give a fuck’ attitude that only a band that are completely comfortable in their sound can carry off with any integrity. Drenge do it brilliantly.

That attitude is displayed perfectly in ‘The Woods’. It takes a change of tempo and sounds dark and brooding. It shows a band that isn’t afraid to move away from the grunge template; with it they add a new compelling texture to their sound. The sinister intro to ‘Undertow’ is superb, before you’re led on an instrumental journey with big bluesy riffs that are pure gold.

‘Have You Forgotten My Name?’ ticks all the right boxes in what an album closer should be. It takes the feel of the previous ten tracks mixes it together, adds a hint of a Therapy?-esque sound and you’ve got yourself a phenomenal track.

Undertow is an enthralling listen that’ll draw you in from the first bars and keep your right to the end. A superb dynamic and sound from the Derbyshire duo. Their debut might have put them on the cusp of success; surely Undertow will propel them into the mainstream.

AD Rating 8.5/10

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