Half-dead, half-lucid, half-cut, but fully committed to the journey, Drift is a rambling and sometimes raving journey of self-discovery which goes down like a fifth of tequila.
As The Men approach their tenth year as a band, the desire to provide something new seems at the heart of Drift. The tone is absolutely all over the place, from chirpy acoustic rock to filthy alt-punk. The effect is like listening to R.E.M.’s Green and Out of Time simultaneously.
Whilst this does make for a bumpy ride, the places it takes you make it a worthwhile trip. ‘Maybe I’m Crazy’ is instructive, setting the tone with a maddening groove that registers as the unstoppable processes of industrial machinery. Conspiratorial whispering, fuzzed out riffs and guttural cries round off a track that recalls the deranged awe of Pretty Hate Machine.
By the time ‘Rose on the Top of the World’ rolls round you’d be forgiven for thinking you were listening to the wrong playlist. The sunny neo-country bares no resemblance to what came before it.
If Drift lives up to its namesake a little too well, the anchor is the tone of jet black nihilism. The Men see the world before them as inherently wrong, and even on the sweet moments – ‘So High’ / ‘Rose on Top of the World’ – you feel the sneer just below the surface. That Drift is often stirring, often mesmerising, is a credit to the strength of the tunes.
The emphasis is very much on wanderlust rather than songcraft. Drift is filmic, daramtic and finds The Men arriving at a surprising and fruitful neo-country refulgence.