Drive Til Morning - Drive Til Morning (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Drive Til Morning

Drive Til Morning (2003)

Deep Elm

Drive Til Morning is technically one man, Francis Garcia. Garcia is most known for his axe work in former Deep Elm poster band Pop Unknown, although he has been kicking around the Texas indie scene for over a decade, playing in notable local bands Yuck, Fourth Grade Nothing, and Bicycle Pilot among others. Basically, the guy's been around the block [and been courted by a few major labels] more than a handful of times. He's probably seen the same stretches of highway dozens of times over while on tour, and listening to his debut album as Drive Til Morning, I tend to get the feeling that a good majority of these songs were conceived or written while staring out of a van window.

Musically the album is rather sparse, sticking mostly with folksy guitar lines and Garcia's vocals. Occasionally he expands out of his four-track state of mind to include violin and viola, as well as the more rootsy banjo and steel pedal guitar [played by friends]. These flourishes never weigh the album down, though, as no song becomes too overwhelming for Francis to control vocally.

But that's where the big problem lies. Garcia's Texas roots are in full display on these 10 songs, displaying a twang that I never knew he had. Frankly, it becomes rather obnoxious halfway through the album ["The Pipebombs Bursting In Air" is pretty much the last straw], which makes the whole affair a rather unenjoyable one on the whole.

There is a wealth of songwriting talent here, but Garcia just goes about it all the wrong ways. Even getting Gameface's Jeff Caudill to provide some backing vocals on "Stompers" doesn't help the cause, as Caudill has always had quite the twang to his emotional vocals. So while I give Garcia an A for effort on branching out from his past endeavors, I can't grade him much higher than a C in originality and execution. Better luck next time.

Palm Trees Sway
Orange and Tweed
By Scenic Highway
At the Center of the Universe
Bring The Single Digits On