Albums

Single Review: Drenge – ‘We Can Do What We Want’

To an excited response from their followers, alternative duo Drenge announced that their hotly anticipated second LP will be released in April this year. We could tell the Loveless brothers had something stashed up their respective sleeves when it was announced that the pair would make their US TV debut on The Late Show with David Letterman on 27th January. The new album, entitled Undertow, includes a few tracks recorded with their childhood friend Robert Graham on bass, and is set to be as widely acclaimed as their first. Accompanying the news of the album and a fresh set of UK tour dates released today (they’re coming to Rescue Rooms!), Impact listens to their first single from Undertow – ‘We Can Do What We Want’ – to find out what we’re in for.

‘We Can Do What We Want’ lies on the couch of the counsellor and indulges in solipsism

Drawing on the flashy, grungy arrogance of tracks like ‘Gun Crazy’ and ‘Bloodsports’ from Drenge, ‘We Can Do What We Want’ harnesses all the apathy and distaste that was palpable in their first album, whilst also developing their tone from the personal to the generational. This isn’t just the duo angrily lashing out with an introspective record anymore – if their first single is anything to go on, Drenge are now channeling those feelings of the first album with the impetus of tens of thousands of followers – the momentum of solidarity has ushered in some character development. Like a disaffected twenty-something with a pile of debt, no job prospects and the ineffable twinge of vacuity, ‘We Can Do What We Want’ lies on the couch of the counsellor and indulges in solipsism – “And no one tells us we’re wrong, And no one tells us when to stop, And no one takes account and no one steps in, Or has the guts to call us up”.

the aggressive, driving guitar frames are still there, the irreverent lyricism is intact

As a first listen to ‘We Can Do What We Want’ will demonstrate, however, this is not to say that we will see a Drenge who ingratiate themselves to popular tastes and expectations. Despite the decidedly more upbeat veneer of their latest single – particularly in comparison to previous releases such as ‘Backwaters’ – the aggressive, driving guitar frames are still there, the irreverent lyricism is intact, the intoxicating build-up to the final, thrashing climax smacks of ‘I Want To Break You In Half’ or ‘Let’s Pretend’. And yet there’s something there that marks a slight shift in tone – the heavier fills are met with lighter chord progressions, an almost jovial catchiness. It will be interesting to see how this thread develops in the rest of Undertow.

With the only other preview as to the feel of the new album being that “it’s about love and loss but it’s also about reservoirs and moors and a really great Arabic cafe near the studio”, we shall have to wait with bated breath until April 6th.

James Noble

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