REVIEW: Drive A – The World In Shambles

Drive A

Artist: Drive A
Album: The World In Shambles
Genre: Rock/punk
Label: Dead Conflict/EMI Records

Rumors apparently abound that Drive A are a group of rich kids in disguise. I’ve found no evidence of same in my travels – indeed the only thing my searches turned out was a discovery that the bands I’ve to review are getting younger and younger, and I feel old. Besides, potentially adverse impact on one’s street cred aside, I can’t see how this would impact upon their music, and I am happy to report that this album is pretty darned good. There’s a lot of pomp and circumstance to it, but it’s fun and invigorating and considering their youth, quite well put together.

It opens with a short intro, in the form of a radio broadcast, that informs us the band have gone missing. In keeping with the sense of occasion, the album begins proper with some air raid sirens on “Revolt!” It’s a fairly vociferous implosion of noise with plenty of swearing and mischievous vibes. There’s a touch of pop-punk to its sound but it’s a little sharper round the edges, with a rawer feel. The standout is in its latter segment, when it refashions itself into an infectious breakdown spurred by a slick guitar and swaggering vocals. It’s followed by the charmingly titled “Young Cunts” which founds itself on a nice heavy bass line, creating a smooth and self-assured air. The vocals detract a little from this when they begin, as they have a raucous, anarchic feel whose irreverence is completely at odds with the clear pace of the music. It’s a grower, however, as the drums are urgent enough to be compelling and there’s an almost old-school, funky air to it which lends it more charm. “Let’s Have a Wreck” brings the momentum down a notch, feeling a bit more by-numbers, though “Belligerent Time Bomb” kicks things right off once more. Its short running time means it opens fire on all fronts straight away, with a cool bass line and the sporadic appearance of rustic guitars to make it a touch more dynamic.

“The World in Shambles” brings in a touch of darkness and fury, with lots of rasping vocals adding fire to the song. The chorus is more straightforward than elsewhere but this acts as a good anchor for the song, and indeed it feels a lot more commercial than the others. The various elements combine neatly for an engaging if unimaginative breakdown to ensure that the audience won’t be alienated, despite the lunacy that tends to take hold in some of the other tracks.

“Demented” and “Robbery” bolster the album’s midsection – two relatively brief songs laden with bold bass lines, lots of attitude and swagger, and beautifully intense final flourishes. They’re executed quickly and confidently and hint at a kind of fledging maturity that’s impressive for a relatively young band (and there’s certainly no hint of the traditional sophomore album difficulty here). As the album progresses, “Dead End Lives” is so bathed in swathes of cool that it’s instantly lovable, rhythmic, dirty, and glamorous. It’s a slower number, probably to suit the pervasive sense of its own hipness, but more enticing than many of the quicker songs. As it ends, it fades into an almost downbeat, temperate number and uses a meditative guitar to fade out – a more pensive and self-contained approach than is used elsewhere.

“Shallow Security” picks up on this elegiac air, with a lonely, chugging guitar that waxes and wanes from saddened to triumphant. The vocals don’t quite convince in capturing the same somberness but they are resolute, and this defiance of the prevailing tone in the music may be deliberate. Either way, it’s a slightly awkward, but enjoyable listen. “Salvation” is the last track, and goes out of its way to offset the dull spirits left lingering in the wake of the above by bringing in jubilance, in copious amounts. It’s fresh and loose, casting off much of the posturing that defined the earlier tracks and feels lighter, liberated, and much better because of it. There are gang vocals repeating “salvation” throughout, which adds a pleasing air of resolution.

Marked though it may be by a clear streak of youthful precociousness, The World In Shambles is a very good album. It’s brash and a bit full of itself but for the most part provides enough quality to back this up. It has a bit more depth and bite than many other punk and pop-punk wannabes, and ought not to disappoint. At only 32 minutes long, to boot, there are far worse ways to do some jamming.

SCORE: 9/10
Review written by: Grace Duffy

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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