Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Alphabetical Discovery - Week D, Day Four: Drive Like Jehu

Each week I'd like to have an entry about a band that isn't necessarily 'metal' but these bands are the sort that I expect, or hope, metalheads will appreciate (well at least I do). Drive Like Jehu have been placed in the loose and rather fluid genre-box of post-hardcore; like post-metal, or post-rock, or post-black or post-whatever, the 'post' doesn't really help describe a sound much at all, in fact it's a rather lazy way of grouping bands that that are slightly left-of-centre or slightly off-kilter when compared to others. 

Drive Like Jehu released two albums - 1991's Drive Like Jehu and 1994's Yank Crime - before disbanding a year later. 1994's Yank Crime is a noisy collision of piercing feedback and rusty noise - think a dirty Sonic Youth -, gruff shouted vocals and general off-key grit. This post-hardcore aesthetic, though, is only one piece of the album's dynamic puzzle - melodic and subtle interlocking guitar patterns and moments of textured space-rock slot in alongside the clangor of dissonant riffs that, as in end of 'Luau', sound on the verge of collapse, ringing and wailing like sirens - wires and computer systems locking-down and exploding. With four songs over seven-minutes (two over nine) and with most of the song-endings landing miles away from their blast-off points there is justification in applying the 'progressive' label to the band. But, most importantly, there is a raw energy that pulsates through the entire album; songs like 'Golden Brown', 'New Math' and 'Human Interest' are rip-roaring, throat-ripping, unhinged songs that can rival the intensity of gruffness of a lot of metal from the same time. 

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