Drenge at Rough Trade East, gig review: Touring bassist fleshes out the band's malevolent grunge

New material sounds more refined but still leaps out with a curled lip and clenched fist

Celebrating their second LP Undertow, Drenge's twenty-something Loveless brothers Eoin and Rory are back to rail against the status quo of generic indie chart-toppers. 

Coltish and serious-looking, Eoin's sonorous deadpan recalls the Editors' Tom Smith, and occasionally Tom Meighan of Kasabian when he pitches into a keening whine. 

Clever lyrics combine with the kind of big dumb sound that tears up arenas and brews mosh pits; last year’s addition of touring bassist/childhood friend Rob Graham fleshes out the brothers’ malevolent grunge.

'We Can Do What We Want' and 'Running Wild' both have potential to be hits, the former especially with its furious punk energy and teen disillusionment, while 'The Snake' has early Nirvana’s juddering build that practically pushes the neck back and forth into an approving nod.

Ross Orton (Arctic Monkeys, AM) has added some additional grit to the production of their latest effort: new material sounds more refined but still leaps out with a curled lip and clenched fist.

Royal Blood may have beaten them to the punch when it came to breaking into the charts and frightening the locals, but Drenge’s slow-build and a distinct lack of blues riffs suggests they’ll be sticking around for a little while longer.

You can listen to Drenge on our Spotify playlist

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