Night Drive, Position I

Night Drive, <em>Position I</em>

It’s always kind of nice when a band is exactly what they say they are; there’s no guesswork, no innuendo, no wondering if maybe the band’s trying to make some kind of statement or something. For their part, Night Drive sound just like their name makes you think they should: dark and speeding, a sleek, futuristic sports car cruising at high speed through a neon-tinted landscape at night, everything chrome and sideways looks and shiny-bright electronics.

Bandmates Rodney Connell (ex-MoTel Aviv) and Brandon Duhon (ex-Glasnost) start things off strong with probably the best track on debut EP Position I, “Drones”; it’s a finely-honed gem of insistent, droney (duh) electro-pop, with a low-key-yet-driving beat over what I think is a sharp-edged political commentary on the autonomous vehicles of aerial death of the song’s title. I can’t even really explain why, but that metronome-like keyboard line keeps me coming back to this first song, over and over and over again.

When I finally break free and move on to second track “No Plans,” okay, I’m feeling a little let down. It’s probably the “lightest” track on here, one that brings the band’s ’80s influence all the way to the forefront, evoking OMD and Hall & Oates in equal measure. Connell, with his Brit-sounding voice, carries it off, albeit only just, and by the third listen or so, I’m ready to grudgingly admit that alright, I do like it okay, even if it’ll never be my favorite song from these guys.

Thankfully, they dive back into the synth-ier stuff immediately after, with “Sea of Light,” which is simultaneously dark and bright, with that nighttime cruise lit up by primary-colored lasers as those gently-fuzzed synths and drums bump and bounce beneath Connell’s utterly unflappable vocals. Then there’s “Nocturnal,” all murky and dangerous-sounding, with a fairly unfortunate chorus — in the hands of a lesser band, it could be cringe-worthy, but Night Drive manages to infuse the whole thing with an aura of industrial menace, making it sound like the soundtrack for an untitled 30 Days of Night sequel.

Position I closes out with “After Dark,” which brings the ride back around to drop you off outside your door. There’s a more thoughtful, quieter vibe to it, like the come-down at the end of a night spent out way, way too late doing things you’d probably rather forget. And then, with the barest nod, Night Drive rolls the window back up and purrs smoothly on down the street, leaving you in the dust to wonder how real it all was.

[Night Drive is playing 9/16/13 at Fitzgerald’s, along with Gold Fields & Rush Midnight.]
(Robot Dance Records --; Night Drive -- Night Drive (Facebook) --; Night Drive (Twitter) --; Night Drive (Soundcloud) --; Night Drive (Bandcamp) --
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Review by . Review posted Monday, September 16th, 2013. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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