Drenge are unleashing their Strange Creatures into the world
Famed for their explosive live shows, the brotherly duo Drenge released two albums in quick succession, chock-full of grunge-punk anthems.
Last month they released album three, Strange Creatures, their first in nearly four years, and one that sees the Loveless brothers look beyond the sonic palette of their first brace of albums.
Singer-guitarist Eoin and drummer Rory also returned to live duty last year, with a cheeky nod to their absence.
‘That was great fun,’ Rory tells The Guide, ‘it was a great atmosphere, everyone got it. We had this daft theme like it being a cheesy office reopening party and everyone got stuck in, which was especially heartening because it had been so long.
‘It just makes me more excited for the next shows.’
The Sheffield-based act dropped a few of the new songs into their set on that run, but they’re aching to unleash them properly on the world.
‘Obviously we’re dead excited, I think it will be strange though, it is such a long time, and you change a lot as a person in that amount of time. It will be interesting to go back into it as an older person.
‘But I love going on tour and playing the album to people – I can’t wait.’
The prerelease publicity for the album has a statement from the band that: ‘It’s a nocturnal record. A psychological horror movie on wax. Warped hallucinations from mundane observations as you move through it.’
Rory explains more: ‘There’s a broader range of dynamics in the new songs – they’re not all out and out rock, there’s some stranger stuff on there. There’s all sorts of sounds we wanted to put in and try to experiment.
‘We knew where we were with the last two albums, and what we were capable of, but we wanted to push ourselves and make something different.’
There’s even saxophone on one track, courtesy of their dad...
The band returned to producer Ross Orton, formerly in cult acts Add N to (X) and Fat Truckers, for the project.
‘We’ve worked with him on almost everything we’ve done. He’s great – he’s the most Sheffield person ever. He’s quite old-school and he always makes a big thing of being brought up in Shirecliff in a working class family. Someone said he’s so Sheffield that if you cut him he bleeds Henderson’s Relish – it’s a local condiment with a lot of favour – and flavour – in these parts.’
The brothers have also expanded to a four-piece live now, which has provided challenges when tackling the older material.
‘It’s interesting. Some things don’t work as a four-piece because there’s only two instruments. When you’re trying to cram four instruments into that it just doesn’t work, but it’s been good.
‘The way you change and develop, it’s strange to go back – especially when you’ve been concentrating on this album for so long – and see how you would have done things before, whereas now you wouldn’t necessarily do that thing, it doesn’t seem as natural as it did before, so you notice this change in yourself and question everything about yourself and ask who am I and have this quarter life crisis…’ he laughs as his thought gallops to its conclusion.
‘But yeah, it’s just been really fun, having Ed in on bass and revisiting the old stuff and coming up with new parts for Rob on the keyboards, we just want to make it dead exciting for each show.’
The reviews for Stranger Creatures have been pretty good too, which has been a relief for the brothers.
‘Everyone knows us for us louder, brasher adolescent, angsty stuff, but there’s only so long I think a band can come up with that kind of thing and keep it genuine. A lot of my favourite bands have all started out in hardcore punk bands and gone on to more gentle or high-concept stuff.
‘The new stuff that’s closer to our old material has gone down well with the fans, and they get that a bit quicker, but I’m hoping the more new stuff we play that’s a bit more out there will find its place in the hearts of our fans as well.’
The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea
Wednesday, April 3