You can figure out everything you need to know about Drunk Couples within the first 45 seconds of their new EP, Way Gone. The first track, “In My Way,” sets the mood with harmonizing feedback and an intro bass riff you might expect to be played out of the grill of an 18-wheeler with teeth on the front. The truck then proceeds to explode through the wall of an abandoned house as the whole band comes with unison riffs and pissed off drum fills. Before the vocals even come in, you know how they sound – loud, raspy, and mean. The title of the song is screamed with the entire band emphasizing each syllable, and you’ve got it.
You should be.
Get out now.
When you hear the second track, “Up,” you really get a feel for what Drunk Couples has to offer. Featuring the most power-violence-esque sounds I’ve heard out of this town, I can’t imagine this song being played live without at least a dozen Charleston sad-bois tearing holes into the crowd as they release the week’s worth of pent up aggression.
The tempo is ripe for deep headbanging, and the vocals rip against the guitar lines like a dull knife rips your favorite pair of skinny jeans into this summer’s pair of jorts. By the end of the song, when the word “up” is just being screamed at max tenacity, the same sadbois are climbing over each other’s heads to get a chance at group vocal participation. While they scream their faces are contorted with anger, but you can see them all smiling between songs.
By the time “Snake Oil” pops up as track three, you’re ready to appreciate a slower tempo and more complex guitar work, and that’s exactly what the band delivers. I think that might be Drunk Couples’ best quality – the ability to ensnare you in their grooves and deliver songs that are somehow both fresh and familiar. At four and a half minutes, this track is longer than the first two combined. Despite the sophisticated instrumentals the track seems to drag on a bit, until … wait a second … is that Danzig?! HOW DID THEY GET DANZIG IN THE STUDIO??!!!
With the complete swap of vocal styles, you suddenly understand and welcome the other side of Drunk Couple’s coin. Filler track? Perhaps. But we gotta let the sadbois recuperate sometime. They really don’t drink enough water.
“Florio,” the final track on the EP, is a pretty perfect clincher. It picks the tempo back up and adds some sweet pinch harmonics to the riffage. It also seems to be the track where they told the drummer, “FINE! Do all your fills on this one,” and he willingly obliged. As the breakdown drops you’ll likely find yourself yelling “Finally!” and plunging back into the pit. I told you they have a power-violence streak, and they whip it out in full force at the end of the track. A quicker open hi-hat beat picks up the energy as the bass continues the breakdown rhythm, and the guitars let loose a wailing stream of noise solos that keep the blood pressure (and the push pits) pumpin’.
All in all, this is Drunk Couples’ best release to date. On one hand, I can’t help but think the instrumental depth of “Florio” could be present throughout the whole EP. Then again, “Up” is my favorite track, and its simplicity might be what makes the song dig in so hard. I think there’s only one way to find out for sure: I gotta check them out live.
In the meantime, I award this brutal EP a Black Star.
Good job boys.