EP Review | Drenge – ‘Autonomy’

Drenge - Autonomy

Drenge switch it up with New EP Autonomy

Drenge release their first set of songs since their 2015 album Undertow, after a lot of anticipation.

Castleton band Drenge AKA Brothers Eoin and Rory Loveless, first made their mark in 2013 when they successfully brought grunge to the mainstream music table. They have since gained a bass player, Rob Graham, and have been exploring their sound – something which is truly evident in their latest EP, Autonomy.

After taking (quite a lot of) time to reflect, this EP holds a different vibe compared to previous releases, and deviates from both the raw angst-ridden, rock and roll sounds of their 2013 self-titled debut, as well as their high impact, dark, grungy 2015 album Undertow.

Instead of the heavy guitars and dirty bass riffs evident their previous releases, the opening title track ‘Autonomy’ greets you with robotic, techno sounds. This concept has been creatively mirrored in the EP’s artwork, as well as their entire release campaign and music videos; which involved sending the best promotional makeshift robot ‘DR3-NG3’ out into Sheffield to meet the people.

As Eoin delivers opening lyrics “I can’t tell if you’re laughing or crying inside/ how would you know if I’m funny/if there’s water in your eyes“, across a playful and catchy riff, his vocals evoke a lovely 80s retro vibe.

The sci-fi themes, that seem to be a bit of a craze with Sheffield bands at the minute (ahem, Arctic Monkeys), are continued through lyrics such as “do androids dream of electric sheep”; a nice allusion to Blade Runner’s inspiration. Eoin further questioning these ideas of humanity and reality with “I’m struggling when to spot/ whether something’s real, or something’s fake, or not.”

Fades to Black’ conveys more relaxed vocals, displaying an effortless sense of calmness and conviction, proving that Drenge know what they’re doing, and they’re doing it well. Despite this laid-back vibe, Drenge have by no means lost their passion – “All my love, you can’t turn back/everything you touch fades to black” oozes emotion alongside some nice harmonization; and is a nice build up to a much needed guitar solo.

Set with a Drenge-y rawness that is also mirrored by the powerful ‘Outside’ where “red lips, red kisses on the base of my spine” are delivered with passionate, growly vocals. ‘Before the War Begins’ then brings a slightly melancholic yet gratifying end to this fine collection of songs through mellow lyrics – “breath in, breath out”, accompanied by a grungy, rolling riff.

It may have come as a shock to some Drenge fans upon hearing a more polished and refined sound with this release, in comparison to their previous work. Although this EP does things differently, it is in no way a disappointment. This difference is good; it is great evidence of a band that isn’t afraid to continue growing and experimenting with a range of sound and themes; and the more you listen, the more you appreciate the exciting concepts of this EP in its entirety. All in all, this is yet another great piece of music made in Sheffield.

Drenge have recently just announced their third album Strange Creatures due out February 2019, and you can also catch them on their UK tour next spring!!

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