Strange Creatures sees Drenge produce an album which is tighter and more cohesive than their previous two records, with the selection of tracks fitting together seamlessly. Described by the band themselves, Strange Creatures is “the most considered record we have ever made.”
Following on from a highly successful debut is difficult for any band. After the release of their second album Undertow in 2015, Drenge have been relatively quiet; playing only a handful of live shows and releasing their latest EP, Autonomy in the build-up to their new album.
From the opener ‘Bonfire of The City Boys’, the album sets a new tone. Slower and more atmospheric, building on the gloom and feelings of desperation from their EP and previous albums. If there’s one thing Drenge do particularly well, it’s creating disconcerting imagery in their lyrics. In ‘Autonomy’ they refer to the notion of uncanny valley, the unsettling feeling experienced when people come into contact with androids who closely resemble humans, with their words “I’m struggling when to spot, whether something’s real or something’s fake, or not“. This demonstrates their knack for cynical song writing which packs emotional weight.
Preluding single ‘This Dance’ is easily the most pop-oriented track on the album which, along with ‘Teenage Love’, are the songs that will translate best at their live shows. ‘Prom Night,’ features eerie lyrics telling a high school horror story (one which wouldn’t be out of place as a scene in Carrie) and the addition of a saxophone makes one of the most interesting songs on the album. The album’s closing track ‘When I Look Into Your Eyes’ boasts an acoustic guitar which ends the album in a reflective, poetic manner, similar to previous albums.
The energy of the album slows considerably with ‘No Flesh Road’ and ‘Avalanches.’ The pace drops and lacks the high tempo and thrashing energy of the two previous albums.
On a first listen, fans might feel a little disillusioned at the slower pace of Strange Creatures. They are songs which will grow on you rather than grab you immediately. Their new sound shows progression and maturity. Drenge are a band attempting to creatively grow and Strange Creatures is the sign of evolution. The album builds on their previous work with the addition of more dynamic instruments and interesting songs to inspire unsettling observations of daily life.
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