Thursday, May 16, 2019

Song(s) of the Day # 1,942 Souvenir Driver

Portland, Oregon quartet who skate the lakes between Jim Morrison, Lou Reed and Ian Curtis's. Their new album A Dangerous Crossing which came out a couple of weeks back, has plenty of glacial moments that occupy this territory almost as if this stuff has never been done before. Though of course it has.

No one trick ponies, they have plenty to bring to this particular table, mainly because the songs are just great in that time honoured tradition.They're quite upfront about the debt they owe, their Spotify playlist is full of Mary Chain, Bunnymen, Stones, Can and 13th Floor Elevators. You know. That lot! The ones who prefer the darkness to the light. Souvenir Driver are fluent in this particular demotic.

A Dangerous Crossing is a strangely schizophrenic cultural product in terms of its design in that if you weren't already clued in, it might be difficult to work out if it was made by an American or an English band. Of course, as with so many Rock and Roll sub genres, this stuff has been a Transatlantic discusion between North America and our own shores which has been going on for over fifty years. Joy Division taking notes from the Velvets and the Doors, American bands going on to take notes from them and back and forth. Morrison and Reed of course originally  took a whole raft of their formative inspiration from European film and literature and then re-cast it in American experience. Souvenir Driver meanwhile sound as if they could just as easily be living in Oxford or Manchester as in Portland, Oregon even given the occasional lyrical mention of the prairies.

Anyhow, they pull it off, it's a good though not great record, even though it's really been made many, many times before. But Souvenir Driver understand its DNA better than other contemporaries operating in the same field like Crocodiles or Vacant Lots, in that they know that while imitation may be the greatest form of flattery it ultimately amounts to very little unless the songs are infused with a fresh sense of wonder. They do just that with no little skill in the dark melodies of A Dangerous Crossing,

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