Drenge – Undertow

Draped about what Drenge have done with their second album, which on the surface is a more or less logical follow up to their debut, there’s a strange sort of silence. Where with the first record they were dealing with metaphor, on Undertow they have cast aside the veils and struck deep into a narrative vein that feels half confession, half accusation. It’s a big, meaty album and it’s no surprise that – with this much to chew on – there’s been relatively little attention paid to the underlying lyrical structure. Perhaps though, this is sort of the point. From the rolling riffs to the twilight parked car on the LP cover, the album scratches the dark underbelly of the road-trip record. An album crafted for the gloaming skies of Northern England. A debt owed to blustery evenings and mid-winter gloom. The lyrics, better crafted than on their first effort, have a strangely sub textual impact. They drift in and out of front-centre, whipping past as often as they linger. The biggest message is that of motion, the shifting patterns of a rain smeared windscreen are as much of a story board as the Loveless brothers allow themselves and, though it might seem somewhat vague, this is about as deep as its worth delving. There’s not an awful lot to latch on to in this record but, somehow, that feels right. It’s a record that sinks into the subconscious even as it batters the surface. With their first record Rory and Eoin proved that they were able to land a solid blow to the solar plexus, with this effort the choking is more of a gradual tightening of the chest. They’ve talked – in other interviews – of how they’d hoped the album would be more cinematic than their first and – in a way – it is. Only it doesn’t feel like a film, it feels like film in general. It’s cinematic, but in no specific sense. ‘We Can Do What We Want’ is as close as they come to a self-contained statement piece. The rest of the album is spread out and splayed across its 38 minute running time. There are 11 songs but it feels like far fewer, it’s an album that bleeds and blurs its way to the finish. Their self-titled debut was a collection of brawling, guitar led bangers. This record is a record. With that, the Loveless brothers have succeeded.

‘Undertow’ is out now and available digitally and physically from the usual online shops.