The Drin: Elude The Torch [Album Review]

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The Drin
Elude The Torch
Feel It Records [2024]

Album Overview: The Drin, hailing from Cincinnati, have been steadily releasing one album per year since 2021. Originally a solo project by Dylan McCartney, the band has grown into a robust sextet, reaching a new level of cohesion and energy. Elude The Torch, the band’s fourth release (and best to date), is a testament to their artistic growth and maturity. This album demonstrates their ability to create a cohesive and immersive record, marked by intricate instrumental layers and evocative atmospheres. The sextet configuration of the band reaches new heights on Elude The Torch, balancing a sense of looseness with focused and commanding execution. Each track is meticulously crafted, with an array of instruments that include deep layers of saxophone, synthesizer, percussion, and strings, blending seamlessly to create opaque, emotionally charged environments. Dylan McCartney’s low-tone, mostly spoken vocals further enhance the album’s mysterious and moody aura. While retaining the raw energy and experimental spirit of their earlier works, Elude The Torch showcases a refined production quality and a more sophisticated approach to songcraft, with what feels like more complete tracks. The album’s versatility is evident in its diverse range of song structures and vibes, offering a rich and dynamic listening experience from start to finish. Elude The Torch is an engaging and challenging indie rock record that only gets better with multiple spins.

Musical Style: The Drin’s soundscape is a rich combination of post-punk influences, featuring depths of saxophone, synthesizer, clangs, distortion, percussion, and strings. Their music is distinguished by deep, resonant bass lines, some distortion, and distant, spaced-out drum patterns, all contributing to a highly textured and ear-stirring listen.

Evolution of Sound: From its inception as Dylan McCartney’s solo project, The Drin have continuously explored new sonic territories, with each album building on the last. Elude The Torch represents a significant leap forward, showcasing increased song structures, direction, and a heightened sound quality that reflects the band’s evolution and growing confidence.

Artists with Similar Fire: Fans of early The Fall and Joy Division will recognize the influence in The Drin’s music, as well as elements reminiscent of Sonic Youth and Pere Ubu. Elude The Torch also goes down a darker, folkish path during several songs, reminiscent at times of the 90s group 16 Horsepower.

Pivotal Tracks: Notable tracks on Elude The Torch include “Tomorrow’s Just Laughin’,” which introduces a unique country-infused flair, adding a surprising and refreshing twist to the album’s predominantly post-punk sound. The title track, “Elude the Torch,” stands out with its vigorous post-punk energy, encapsulating the album’s intense and driving rhythm, making it a standout piece that captures the essence of The Drin’s sound. The psychedelic opener “Bascinet” sets the tone for the album with its trippy, expansive soundscapes, immediately drawing listeners into the band’s captivating world. “Persistence” offers a more spacious and atmospheric vibe, highlighting the band’s skill in creating mood and texture within their music.

Lyrical Strength: The Drin’s lyrics have both an enigmatic and foreboding nature, creating vivid, often dark, thematic landscapes. The mostly spoken vocal delivery enhances the haunting and immersive quality of the music, reinforcing the album’s overall mood and thematic depth.

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Bandcamp | Feel It Records

Thomas Wilde

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