Driver Side Impact - Double Vision (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Driver Side Impact

Double Vision (2010)


Cleveland, Ohio's Driver Side Impact's past releases built upon familiar 2000s pop-punk trends while slowly working toward something that they might call their own. A new decade is upon us, and it is as good a time as any to turn over a new leaf. Listening to this album you could say that in a way Driver Side Impact seem to agree. I suggest that they might want to consider changing that fig leaf again, though, because this one smells a little ripe if you ask me. Maybe this is the sign of a desperate band trying to cash in on already stale formula with a Hail Mary EP in the final seconds of the game, but Double Vision seems to lack any of the little vision the band may have had. Instead, they try to hock four piss-poor Fall Out Boy knockoffs. This isn't even newer more "experimental" Fall Out Boy they are aping either, it is Under the Cork Tree worship.

The impressively quick guitar work on the intro to the EP opener "Downfall," coupled with some chunky rhythms, are likely fool you into believing that the three or so minutes that follow are going to be a ripping slice of aggressive punk rock. When the song gets its proper legs, however, you sure will have egg on your face as it just ends up being a calculated poppy rock song, complete with sterile gang vocals on the chorus to try and dress up how truly banal the verses are and lackluster the hook is. Around the 2:10 mark there is really neat guitar work that has sprinkled prior releases, but it literally lasts only a few seconds before things turn back to your regularly scheduled cure for insomnia.

On "Broadway," the song is once again saved by the guitar work, which thankfully remains frantic and engaging throughout most of the song, save for a few moments when the band throws in a completely useless heavy breakdown that stalls the momentum of the song. About halfway through "Broadway," vocalist Chris Reck's Patrick Stump ripoff gets so completely unbearable in its highly affected, overwrought style I almost wanted to shut the record off completely. This is an occasion where less is definitely more. Chris should relax, get a sippy cup of Kool Aid and just let us enjoy what the rest of the band can do without some of that over-the-top vocalization.

I'm afraid things don't really improve over the rest of this short album, with forgettable songwriting and an annoying divergence from anything that the band has going for it. Even the keyboards on "Runaway" are far too toy-like and act in jarring opposition to the distorted guitars in the rest of the song.

It is obvious that Driver Side Impact are a capable band with some serious talent, yet they have chosen to waste it on writing trite, clichéd songs that I'm not even sure will pay off in monetary ways anymore. My advice is that they lay off the Fall Out Boy records for awhile so they can find their own voice (quite literally, tone down those vocals; you are making me embarrassed for you). I guess if you were some kind of super Fall Out Boy fan you might like this but I really have to question whether or not anyone else would.