Drive-By Argument - Drive-By Argument

Their debut may not have entirely escaped the received musical approach of their background.

To form a band at random (by having the names of the future members drawn out of a hat, no less) would seem, at first glance, like a musical disaster waiting to happen. To start a band this way at the start of a university music course as the basis for a project risks creating a sonic travesty of Brit School proportions. (To name said band after a Family Guy joke only slightly redeems the situation). Conventional wisdom would thus dictate that Drive-By Argument - a band formed in this decidedly unromantic way - should be an incompatible mish-mash of conflicting styles and warring egos, untainted by either inspiration or innovation.

Happily for Drive-By Argument, and their self-titled first album, conventional wisdom proves to be (mostly) incorrect. Despite not being entirely original, either in their formation or in their style, the enthusiasm that they bring to the table manages to shine through in an unashamedly bouncy, frothy melding of influences. While their much vaunted ‘four-to-the-floor happy hardcore’ is hardly a brand-spanking new innovation (step forward Enter Shikari, or even The Prodigy), their splicing of electronica and punk-pop reaps rich rewards. The thrilling pulse of the synthesisers on ‘Dance Like No-One’s Watching You’ drop-kicks the rest of the song into life, and former single ‘Sex Lines are Expensive Comedy’ is catchier than ebola. Meanwhile, ‘The Fish Star Fish Eye’ is an inverted love song that collapses in a wailing squall of electronic despair; by contrast, ‘We Techno Prisoners’ is the album’s poppiest moment, with the kind of nagging guitar hook that would feel right at home on a Kylie album.

Despite lead singer Stoke sounding like the biologically-improbable son of Luke Pritchard from The Kooks and Brendon Urie from Panic At The Disco, the band as a whole manages to escape the constraints of flaccid indie-pop of the former and the forced eclecticism of the latter. While their debut may not have entirely escaped the received musical approach of their background, it could give a lot of other bands an education.

Tags: Drive-By Argument, Reviews, Album Reviews

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