DROWNS, THE: Under Tension: LP

May 28, 2020

I’m gonna have to eat a little bit of crow here. It’s not that I ever took a strong position on the offensiveness of The Drowns. After over a decade of listening to and watching Rev in Success, I have admittedly pigeon-holed him into a pop punk slot. When he started a street punk band, I felt like they were shoving a pair of high top Converse into a Fred Perry hole. I’ve seen them live many times and felt they were enjoyable to watch. They always put on a great show. And certainly the working class frustrations and shout outs to the little guy themes of their lyrics piqued my interest, though it sometimes dives off into some cheesy waters. This most recent full length is so god damned good though. I certainly know that not every band can steal my attention with every song they write and that styles change as we grow as humans. What I really enjoy about Under Tension are those categorically Aaron Peters guitar parts, his significantly more powerful Al Barr singing style, and the bright and beautiful contrast when Andy Wylie takes lead vocals. I think adding a second guitar to the band really helped elevate their sound. The songs are so dang catchy you’ll find yourself singing along before they’re halfway through. I wasn’t ready for how good this record turned out to be. I’m really digging “Them Rats,” “Black Lung,” and “Cue the Violins.” There are plenty of bangers on the rest of the record too though. It’s fast, poppy, and gritty. They cover Jimmy Cliff’s “The Harder They Come” too. RIYL Street Dogs, Rancid, Dead To Me, and Noi!se. –Kayla Greet (Pirates Press)