Potentially Brilliant Electro Indie Debut
By citing influences as diverse as Mozart and My Chemical Romance, Drive By Argument may boast interesting tastes but do they deliver interesting music? Well yes, it’s as simple as that. Part of the ever expanding Scottish music scene Drive By Argument offer twice as much as more vacuous national contemporaries such as The Fratellis in terms of inspiration, originality and listenability. In fact their self titled debut album reeks of serious potential.
Sounding like a West Coast, Scottish version of early Maximo Park, the band specialise in that classic fast/slow brand of electro rock. That might not sound completely revolutionary but there is more than enough across the ten numbers here to suggest the group are more than just passengers on the indie bandwagon.
Standout track ‘We Techno Prisoners’ in particular showcases the groups complete range of skills. Here lead singer Stoke seems to revel in the structured madness of the swift all consuming synth beats and macho drumming which surround his vocal performance. Likewise the taught opener ‘The Sega Method’ perfectly displays the groups knack of hitting an adrenaline fuelled raucous high. It’s loud and punchy enough to satisfy the more excitable and just melodic enough to stave off the criticism that they might be masking their shortcomings with gratuitous levels of noise. These two have hit written all over them.
Whilst the band are undoubtedly well equipped enough to churn out potential mass market crowd pleasers; songs like the albums last effort ‘Cyclists Run Red Lights’ have enough emotional depth and lyrical qualities to prove Drive By Argument care more about making good music than milking the current commercial demand for indie club dance floor fillers and fast paced throw away singles.
It’s not a flawless piece though and don’t think for a second that the group are the finished article. Too many of the albums tracks merge together instead of standing out for their own merits and you get the impression the songs on the album are there largely because they are the only ten songs the group have written. Electro/indie groups may be in vogue but with so much competition every second has to count and you get the feeling the band may have missed a trick here by releasing an album which at times can seem underwhelming and slightly rushed.
Despite the criticisms; Drive by Arguments debut album is potentially very exciting, instrumentally well constructed, completely listenable throughout and certainly better than most of their peers recent efforts. The group are halfway there on the highway of musical success. Let’s just hope they don’t crash and burn before they reach their intended destination.