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Drenge Strange Creatures

Strange Creatures
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Produced by the band's longtime collaborator Ross Orton, Drenge's latest release Strange Creatures feels like a big step up from 2015's Undertow, in maturity as well as musicality. It's raw and chaotic, evoking neon-lit underground clubs and rain-soaked night-time streets. It's gritty in a way that makes you want to have a shower after listening to it. The lyrics take mundane elements of everyday life and twist them into the grotesque, without straying too far from the truth.

The album opens with 'Bonfire Of The City Boys', released as a single last year. The song is very punk, with a dominating bassline and heavy drums that give it a sense of unsettled urgency. In between bursts of lyrics, it swells into thrashing crescendos that reflect the angry politics of the words.

While many of the tracks are political, others are expertly-written short stories and the style and poignancy of the words recalls Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. 'Prom Night' is a disturbing tale of a high school prom gone wrong. Vocalist Eoin Loveless's first-person rendition, wrapped by saxophones wailing dramatically in the background, blurs the lines between reality and fiction.

There is too much to say about Strange Creatures. It's both a social treatise and a witty commentary on the bizarre nature of everyday life. Each song is permeated with a lingering sense of searching for something intangible. At the same time, it is also jarringly real.

Noah Martin

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