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Drag the River - Bad at Breaking Up (Cover Artwork)

Drag the River

Drag the River: Bad at Breaking UpBad at Breaking Up (2009)
Suburban Home Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: BryneBryne
(others by this writer | submit your own)

It appeared that alt-country superstars Drag the River were done shortly before the release of their last proper studio effort, You Can't Live This Way. Instead, the indefinite hiatus unexpectedly morphed into sporadic shows -- some with just Jon Snodgrass and Chad Price, others with a full band, an.
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It appeared that alt-country superstars Drag the River were done shortly before the release of their last proper studio effort, You Can't Live This Way. Instead, the indefinite hiatus unexpectedly morphed into sporadic shows -- some with just Jon Snodgrass and Chad Price, others with a full band, and all along a whole "fuck it, why not?" attitude toward the entire operation. These guys are indeed Bad at Breaking Up, and we're all the beneficiaries; this record collects 20 various rarities, split songs, and 7" tracks that are either hard to find or completely out of print, and although 20 tracks is a lot for any release, there's far more hits than misses to be found in this collection.

Fans of Suburban Home's Under the Influence 7" series will immediately recognize the first two tracks here, "Having a Party" and "Jeff Black Song," as being from Drag the River's contribution to that series. Both songs feature a balanced mix of electric and acoustic guitar, and Jon and Chad taking turns singing lead on "Having a Party" is a rare, enjoyable treat. Another definite highlight is the five-plus minute "I Remember Now," a slowly-paced ballad carried by a nice combination of weeping steel guitar, minimal percussion and Chad's vulnerable vocals. An alternate version of "Caleb's Grave" also appears here, and it's a moodier, less polished rendition than the one that ended up on You Can't Live This Way. Few bands can match Drag the River's ability to portray pure, unadulterated somberness, and songs like "Jake Song Too" and "This Star" show the guys do more with less than most bands would dare to attempt, and in the most melancholic way possible.

If there's one real fault with Bad at Breaking Up, it's that many of the slower, minimally instrumented songs tend to run together -- at one point there's about eight of them in a row -- but if there's a silver lining to that, it's that it only augments the pure awesomeness of the more upbeat tracks here when they do occasionally show up. The vocal pattern of "Dirty Lips" is so, so catchy, the foot stompin' percussion and solidly placed backup vocals give "Crawling" a lot of life and the straight-up honky-tonk style of "Trainwreck" is loads of fun. And just so I'm not ignoring Jon Snodgrass here, his turn in the raw, driving "Sea Miner" is solid.

Given the inconsistencies in production quality from song to song, no one will confuse Bad at Breaking Up with a proper, centrally focused studio record. But the lack of cohesion here is basically a moot point, largely in part because most of the songs are so fucking good. Highly recommended for listeners old and new alike.

FULL ALBUM STREAM

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Drag the River - You Can't Live This WayThe Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsChuck Ragan - Gold CountryDead to Me - African ElephantsThe Flatliners - CavalcadeFake Problems - Real Ghosts Caught on TapeOff With Their Heads - From The BottomThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Jawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge Therapy

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
MarcJBannes (October 8, 2010)

confused - Drag the River shout out to Gaslight on "Having a Party" or the other way around? ...or neither?

between (February 14, 2010)

Marvelous blog post. Really intriguing and excellently composed article. Thank you once more - I will come again.
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between (January 25, 2010)

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Bryne (April 12, 2009)

Are some of these the alternate versions that appear on the full-album tracks at the end of certain albums?

I think so, yeah.

belfast-sxe-vegan-madman (April 12, 2009)

funny enough I turned a few of these dudes vegan a few weeks ago through one of my vegan workshops, was awesome

eazyd2 (April 12, 2009)

faggot redneck music

MrStylson (April 11, 2009)

Are some of these the alternate versions that appear on the full-album tracks at the end of certain albums?

whoostin (April 11, 2009)

Love the vocals and musical arrangements, great punk rock songwriting!

spoon_of_grimbo (April 11, 2009)

this is the first drag the river stuff i've heard. it's pretty cool - i especially like "caleb's grave."

MN_punkmaster-skaman (April 10, 2009)

It's a pretty good B-sides collection.

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