“Break away / At the veins that are holding us together. / Hold me down / As you cut into my flesh / And pull out every word I've ever said.”
Those deliciously emotional lyrics accurately show the intensity of Driveway’s three-song demo. The band are clearly very influenced by '90s emo, and sound a lot like Balance and Composure mixed with Title Fight, with a slight pop-punk sound also present.
My first reaction to this demo was how well produced it was. I stumbled across it expecting a relatively lo-fi, unimpressive sound. I was wrong. It sounds gorgeous. The slightly scratchy, distorted guitars and booming drums are combined with perfection, with it all sounding crisp and clear. The three songs melt into each other, and make listening to the demo feel like a single experience. From the first second, the listener is submerged into the world created by the intense lyrics, the soaring lead guitar, and the clanging rhythm guitar, which are all driven very capably by loud, skillful drumming.
The opening track “Etymology” is very energetic, with catchy verses. The guitars intertwine beautifully throughout, joining together at times and also playing completely differently. This has the effect of adding another dimension to the song and highlighting the realization and frustration in the lyrics. The song, as suggested by the title, is about how the meaning of words and other things change over time, and this is expressed well: “Words make sentences / Like we make things up. / And words change meaning over time / Like the way we've become.” The energy reaches a peak after two-and-a-half minutes in, as does the emotional intensity in the vocals, with the next 30 seconds guaranteed to get your head bopping. After this, the song gently dies down, giving the listener time to digest the experience and prepare for the next track.
“Naomi Watts” is track number 2. The pop-punk sound of the band is most notable on this song, with a chorus that will replay itself in your head all day. Don’t be fooled by the light-hearted façade, though. The lyrics are saturated in desperation, staying true to the emo influence: “And I remember the days, you used to paint me pictures of your pain, / If I could go back in time I would, before this ever even started.” The contrast between the music and lyrics add depth to the song and make it more attractive. This is a song you could play loudly in your car while speeding down an empty road, or just as background music. One thing’s for sure, though: You’ll be tapping your foot and nodding your head.
The final entry is “Munchausen Syndrome”. At over five minutes long, this is the most chilled track; however, it is in no way any less intense. Actually, it’s probably the most tiresome song to listen to due to the slower tempo and darker feel. It is very reminiscent of Mineral and wouldn't be out of place on Balance and Composure’s Separation. The opening line displays the talent for songwriting, and is further example of the thought-provoking lyrics, using great imagery: “Everybody sings about the sea / As if no one has ever been swallowed by a mountain range.”
Despite the obvious influence of the aforementioned bands, Driveway have still managed to retain some originality and have created a very interesting and energetic experience that is slightly draining, but absolutely rewarding. The fact that this is a demo, and the band's first release, is astounding. There will be many great things to come from Driveway, so keep an eye out. Or two.