Album Review: ‘Stranger Creatures’ by Drenge

Photo credit: press photo as seen on DIY Mag


by Joe Cresswell

It has been a long journey for Drenge; gone are the days of being under the radar (apart from being mentioned in a Labour MPs resignation letter in 2013) and merely being described as a ‘punky indie racket’ by the Guardian. For as Drenge let the dust settle from releasing their third album Stranger Creatures on the 22nd of February few can argue against the fact that Drenge have matured and are much more capable of releasing a full-bodied album worthy perhaps of any Guardian readers ears.

The basic bones that have brought the band much success and chaotic mosh pits in recent years remain; most songs are reliant on Eoin Loveless gritty vocals which remain undiluted and unrestricted. There are of course dark, murky riffs with more than a hint of the 80s about them topped with loud and varied drum beats from Eoin’s younger brother, Rory.

So despite stating that this is “the most considered record we have ever made” the band have far from reinvented themselves. The sounds of the album are hardly surprising and possibly predictable in places, however the variety of songs and themes on offer, including the spooky Prom Night, is a welcome bonus compared to previous albums. This is reflected in the bands statement describing the formation of tracks in the album as a process of “chiselling away, ripping themes and ideas apart, and sewing them back together”. This possibly explains the intriguing mix bag of sounds the listener receives. Production quality has also improved with hugely successful long-time collaborator Ross Orton once again aiding the bands exploits. Killer tracks such as Autonomy and This Dance have a fast tempo and a chorus that slaps the bands chaotic energy into your ears in one big hit. Tracks like this will no doubt cause much excitement with gig goers who don’t have long to wait until Drenge commence their spring tour around the UK and Europe from the 27th of March. A hidden gem on the album is the more sedate and dreamy Avalanche which along with When I Look Into Your Eyes provide a satisfying closure to the album and gently drop the energy levels; slightly at least. No songs on the album could be described as an easy listen however, but that’s sort of the point as the bands mysterious and haunting lyrics are thrown at you in an unrelenting manner.

So there is no respite for Drenge as a busy tour and festival schedule is demanded of them for the rest of the year. This is certainly not an album that will catapult them to humungous heights and this is possibly for the best as their quirky nature has not been tampered with. Instead they remain on an upward trajectory with a fresh and diverse set list for gig goers to enjoy.