A band’s name is the best projection of their identity. For those of us not fluent in Danish, Drenge – which the internet reliably translates into “boys” – conjures up images of grungey scuzziness. In the same way you wouldn’t expect Coldplay to pen something happy-go-lucky, or One Direction to be something other than the implied monotony of their name, you won’t catch Drenge writing anything delightfully twee. Undertow picks up where the duo’s 2013 debut left off, and is scuzzy in the best sort of way.
The anthemic ‘We Can Do What We Want‘ was the only track Drenge teased before the release, and showed early on that they’d negotiated the notoriously difficult sophomore album. It’s abrasive, and boasts a frenzied hook earworm enough to inspire teenage rebellion. Undertow’s energy isn’t expended here as they also rip-roar through ‘The Snake‘ and stand-out song ‘Never Awake‘.
‘Running Wild‘ flaunts Eoin Loveless’s gruff vocals best as they haze over the song’s turbulent chords. This dynamism shows that the band can be nuanced at the same time as creating artful racket. That said, they do dial back the power on ‘The Woods‘ to profound effect, and its melancholy is captivating.
Laden with distorted riffs, snarly lyrics and accelerated drum beats, Undertow is an angsty triumph. The brothers have channelled their grumbles into something great – their talent means they can pull off moodiness with a finesse the rest of us could only dream of. Sheffield is the gift that keeps on giving, and here’s to Drenge throwing up plenty more presents in the future.