Released 15th Dec 2014
Label: Desert Highways (Australia)
It’s brilliant when you can write about a group of almost newcomers. No one else has used the phrases you want to use, the clichés of yore don’t apply and the sounds themselves are as fresh as newly minted anarchist spawn.
I grabbed at the chance to wax lyrical about Melbourne three-piece Drifter and their first full-length release Violent At Altitude. Can’t we all identify with that one ladies and gentlemen? Stuffed with a shoe horn into cattle class on a discount airline, next to the guy who ate a few garlic pizzas for lunch and who insists on telling you about his digestive issues…We are all capable of feeling a little violent at times, but how many of us have been arrested for conduct unbecoming upon disembarkation? It seems the band are really living the punk life.
There’s something genuine about Drifter’s sound even though they were birthed about 45 years after punk music first ate its way onto the scene. Track one; ‘Violent at Altitude’ combines your typical punchy punk number with contemporary instrumentation and Dan King’s distinctive vocals. ‘Bad’ blasts out with a nifty combination of drums and shredding guitar. The vocals on this track balance very nicely with the instrumentation and this makes it one of the best songs on the album.
‘Prisoner’ has a touch of the Seattle sound about it and ‘Devil Digger’, which is an instrumental piece, lulls us into a false sense of security. Take a listen to Troy Dawson’s bass and Dave Payne’s drums on ‘Drugs’ and you’ll be catapulted into rhapsodies over the dark, deep beats. There’s something to enjoy about every track.
While this isn’t the perfect album, and the sounds are a little rough and disjointed in parts, we can forgive these ‘newborns’ their foibles, especially when we consider the genre is supposed to have street cred and be as raw as newly gotten sunburn. If you’re in Melbourne on the 15th of January, head to the CD launch at The Old Bar and be blown away by the credibility and energy of Drifter live.