Full of riffs and hooks you think you may have heard before but just cannot pin down when, where and by whom, the new album by Californians Drive A hits the ground running and gains pace track by track. Following up the 2009 debut album Loss of Desire which gathered good acclaim, The World In Shambles comes with a stiffened up attack from the L.A. based quartet. Whereas their debut skirted the punk pop field the new release is solidly in the more direct in the face camp, forceful and firm it hits hard but is still permeated with riffs and hooks to ensure the most eager addiction and engagement.
Renowned for their energetic live shows the band recorded The World In Shambles live bringing the rawness and energy that is instinctive in their performances to the release and it shows. The band is not trying for perfection nor worried about any ‘blemishes’ appearing which added to the well crafted songs, openly beckoning hooks and riffs, gang choruses and melodic strokes makes for an album that is hard to deny and most of all great fun. From the opening intro to the last punk chorus on the album it is a constant enjoyment. It might not be rippling with originality but it certainly takes the ear on a ride that one never wants to get off.
First full track on the album is ‘Revolt!’ a forceful punk track lined with melodic hooks that do not detract from the songs directness. Lyrically the band pushes for self awareness, finding a full and rounded life within oneself whether against the state, the norm, or one’s fear of expression. This fuels the whole album from start to finish but alongside the thrills and spills of their diverting sounds there is never a preaching element.
The album’s best track ‘Young Cunts’ follows quickly and forcibly, loaded with a hypnotic rhythm and beckoning guitars the song swings the senses through 360 degrees of constant enjoyment. It carries all the elements that took CIV into so many hearts, big bold hooks, proud chest beating riffs and drums that touch every tribal instinct.
Drive A’s sound sits somewhere on the album between Red Tape and Living End with a splash of Billy Talent thrown in. On the impressive and stirring ‘Let’s Have A Wreck’ the band bring the same attack and engaging rock ‘n’ roll of the Australians whilst the excellent combative bass and discordant guitar tinged ‘Belligerent Time Bomb’ veers nearer the Red Tape scathing attack with a pinch of The Clash for good measure. With big choruses and gang vocals both leap into the ear.
The tracks come and go with instant appeal without resorting into any ear candy moments. The grumbling bass powered ‘Demented’ where again bassist Taylor Knowles shows the fine player he is, the delicious punk strike of ‘Robbery’ bringing some old school to the table, and the incessantly alluring title track, all leave a distinct and appealing mark and taste.
Vocalist /guitarist Bruno Mascolo throughout the release is confident and impactful whilst guitarist Jason Nott steers each track into mesmeric places alongside the probing and tall drum beats of Robert Platz. As great as The World In Shambles it also gives a strong impression of much more to come from the band ahead and by the end an enthused anticipation is triggered.
The last couple of tracks on the release do not quite live up to what came before and that is the only criticism if there is one for the release. ‘Shallow Security’ and ‘Salvation’ are good strong tracks but up against the likes of those mentioned and ‘Empty Page’ or ‘Write The Story’ it leaves the album to finish on a very slight lull suggesting placing elsewhere in the playlist would have worked better but really it is a quibble for the sake of it.
The World In Shambles is an excellent album and where it maybe lacks in a distinctive originality it more than makes up with the reinvented riffs, hooks and melodies that suggest familiarity.