DRENGE, Electric Ballroom – Evening Standard, 22 April 2015

Ever obtuse, just as Drenge were shaping up to follow Royal Blood and become the next big hard rock duo, they went and got themselves a bassist. Joining Peak District brothers Eoin and Rory Loveless, Rob Graham has filled out a sound that has grown from murky grunge beginnings towards something more taut and focused and even, with the frenetic catchiness of We Can Do What We Want, acquired a pop heart.
Upping their game means they can move the conversation on from early notoriety to the excellence of this month’s second album, Undertow. The mainstream was alterted to their existence too early, in 2013, when they managed to remain politely on the right side of mortified after being praised, bizarrely, in MP Tom Watson’s resignation letter from the shadow cabinet.
With an election looming you might have expected multiple candidates to be gunning for the youth vote by being seen rocking out at this Labour-endorsed gig. Instead it was packed with giddy teenagers, damp-haired and shirtless, who gave off a palpable warmth in the cloakroom queue afterwards.
They didn’t find much charisma on stage, with singer Eoin staying fairly static and only speaking to say goodnight. His scream at the climax of Let’s Pretend lacked real fire, but his lyrics on newer songs Side by Side and Standing in the Cold were dense with menace.
Meanwhile, the three instruments on stage combined with rumbling power, basic elements delivered with a punch that could be felt internally. The Snake had all the lowdown meanness of its namesake and the appeal of this band, for MPs and civilians alike, became obvious.

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