Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ go back in time with their ‘psychedelic time clock'
by Chris Martin for The Examiner
To say the last couple of years have been kind to Atlanta rockers Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ (DNC) would be an understatement. Through incessant touring, a tell all documentary and a wealth of new music the veteran band has excited the diehard fans, herded back those that had wandered and infused their fan base with a plethora of new young faces. With an incredible showing at the annual SXSWfestival behind them and right on the heels of the premier of their biopic, Scarred But Smarter (the life and times of drivin' n' cryin'), at the Atlanta Film Festival, DNC readies the third EP of the four volume set. (There are rumors that they may continue after number four). Once again they switch gears diving head first into the past on Songs From The Psychedelic Time Clock (SFPTC).
With jangly fuzz filled guitars, killer harmonies and spacey melodies DNC transports the listeners into the world of classic garage rock. Way before the Strokes, Black Keys, White Stripes or the Mooney Suzuki garnered any success with their low-fi rock there were the13th Floor Elevators, the Pretty Things, theKinks and the Count Five laying the groundwork. SFPTC is a homage to those bands that laid the groundwork.
Kicking things off may be the best of the bunch, “The Little Record Store Around The Corner”. Distorted guitars lead the way as Kevn sings about buying his favorite albums from his favorite little record store. Once again Kevn’s lyrical abilities are front and center as he sings about the music he loves, but the backing vocal harmonies from Tim, Sadler and Dave along with the echoing guitars take this tune to a whole other level.
DNC really steps outside the box with “Metamorphcycle”. Not only does the name sound like something concocted while participating in a mind altering activity but the music follows suit. While more guitars lead the way it is the percussive sound effects strategically placed all over this song that gives it the psychedelic flavor. They have created a haunting echoing hazy wall of sound around Kevn’s vocals and it works brilliantly.
On “Upside Down Round And Round” is a familiar sounding tune as they mix in a 60’s pop vibe to the music. Jangly guitars mesh with sitar music and an unobtrusive horn section to create the classic sound, I had to research the track because I was positive I had heard the song before. Once the vocals fade out the band delivers an outro that takes the listener on ride through a groovy spacey soundscape. They then borrow from bands such as the Status Quo and the Grass Roots offering up “Sometimes The Rain (Is Just The Rain)”. Successfully blending the music of the past with “REMesque” sounds they have created a tune that would have fit right in on Top of the Pops.
Closing out the EP is a couple of hard rockers. “In The Sound Room” is the closest track to DNC’sclassic sound. Chunky guitars and thundering rhythms dominate supplying an angry background to Kevn’s growl. They close out the album with “The Psychedelic Time Clock”. A surf guitar infused instrumental it takes a life of its own with punk riffs and guttural grunts and howls from the band, a fun way to end things.
With each of these EP’s DNC keeps upping the ante. They are able to mold the songs to sound like whatever they want yet still keep the bones that are Drivin’ N’ Cryin’. The songs on this latest collection sound like they all belong on the old Nuggets compilations which highlighted underground garage rock of the 60’s & 70’s. If that is what they were going for then they pulled it off. Songs From the Psychedelic Time Clock hits stores in April, and if that isn’t good enough for you DNC will be setting up shop at Atlanta’s Star Bar for two nights of balls to the wall rock and roll, but more on that later. It amazes me that at a time when most bands fade away or turn into greatest hits clichés Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ keeps on getting better.