How would Drenge come across as a three-piece? The answer: pretty bloody good actually.

Date: April 10, 2015

Venue: Rescue Rooms

Since we last heard of Drenge, two more brutal rock duos have grabbed the limelight. Slaves are likely to produce one of the albums of the year when they compile all their furious elements together in one package, while Royal Blood have gone on to dominate the genre.

But with new album Undertow receiving critical acclaim, Drenge are back. But they’re no longer a duo. They’ve returned meatier; beefed up by the inclusion of a bassist, Ross Orton, who adds depth and subtlety to their chaotic live shows.

But even with Orton’s inclusion, brothers Eoin and Rory Loveless show fury, without going full on post-grunge – even if Ross and Rory have adopted the 1991-era scraggy-haired Cobain look.

No, they have returned with a batch of songs that identify them as alchemists of alternative rock, taking the blue print of grunge and morphing it into precious gems honed from QOTSA-sized monoliths (see the instrumental Undertow), intense goth-a-billy (read on), and a real sense of accomplishment.

Favourite Son takes its guidance from Brighton’s gothic soothsayers, The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, with Eoin emitting a low, resonant tone like Nick Cave with toothache. Its grumbling bass and depraved malevolence is a real highlight, as is We Can Do What We want, another nod to goth-rock with a garage underbelly and a quivering, feral bassline.

Elsewhere, new is mixed with old; the older material getting the crowd bouncing. But it’s not without its troubles.

Eoin’s guitar is too low in the mix. It’s noticeable on opener Running Wild, and by the time Never Awake drops way into the set, his solo still doesn’t get the oomph it requires.

Also the curfew is 10pm, but they end at 9:30, leaving the crowd salivating.

They’re back, and they’re good. But more please.


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