Drag the River - Hobo's Demo's (Cover Artwork)

Drag the River

Hobo's Demo's (2000)

Symbiotic Upland

I'll spare the backstory of the band; anyone who's reading this most likely has an idea of what bands / who came from what, etc. What I will talk about is the music that came from it.

Hobo's Demo's was the first release from the band, giving everyone a nice idea of what to expect from the touring machine that was Drag the River. From the opening "pickin'" of "Disbelieve" to the hauntingly beautiful last track, "Sterilized," this album refuses to let up. As with all Drag releases, there are Jon songs, and there are Chad songs. Here they gel well and don't manage to step on each others' toes. The stripped-back Jon song "Crutch-less" is a stark contrast to "Tomorrow Morning," one an acoustic tune that could have been done at 3 in the morning on someone's living room floor, while the latter features Armchair Martian-like rock just behind Chad Price's voice and acoustic guitar. These are also the two high points on the record in my opinion. Each is a brilliant example of Jon and Chad's strengths, respectively. One thing I noticed listening to this after a lot of their later stuff was that the Jon-Chad harmonies are a little subdued; they are there, but not too often and a little low in the mix.

What it adds up to is 28 or so minutes of catchy sing-along music. That's not to say it's happy music. I always thought falling in love with a girl felt like listening to a Desendents album. But when she leaves you for a close friend, you find yourself at some bar and around the fifth shot of whatever and halfway through your first pack of cigarettes in a month is where life starts to feel like Hobo's Demo's. In a great way.

I must say, there are a lot of shitty aspects about life. Heartbreak, let-downs and everything we put up dealing with day-to-day living. And though many bands try to cover these topics, most only reproduce the idea of rough times; they give you a sense, but they don't put you right there beside the person singing the song. But Drag the River were different; they were honest, brutally so. That's what comes through on this record: honesty.