Unedited article here:
“I’m a bit weirded out that there isn’t a band that does our sort of thing already”, says 21-year-old Eoin Loveless, singer/guitarist and elder brother in the hotly tipped garage-punk duo Drenge. “All guitar music seems quite soppy and in love with itself and there just doesn’t seem to be any kind of testicles attached to it any more.”
With as many testicles between them (we hope) as they have songs out on the Internet, Drenge’s direct guitar and drums combination is nevertheless already aiming straight for the jugular. “We’re loud and there aren’t many of us”, summarises Eoin, “you see four- and five-piece bands that seem to make less noise than we’re able to. We just like making noise and being loud”.
With an album out in August (with “one or two ambitious kind of stabs at trying to make a credible record” alongside “a bunch of daft punky tunes”), NME seem to recognize this talent, hosting Drenge in a Great Escape bill also featuring Everything Everything and Klaxons.
Perhaps there’s something in the mythology of the self-professed ‘fraternal punk rock’ duo: “We’ve played music together since we were five and six”, Eoin recounts. “Not guitar and drums – we both had piano lessons together. We would sit on the same stool – I think Rory did the low notes (so like the drums) and I did the high notes (which is like the guitar) – I think if we’d been sat on different sides of the stool we might be playing different instruments.”
If it all sounds a bit The White Stripes, who’s complaining? “We grew up on The White Stripes and kind of totally devoured their music”, Eoin admits, “but it’s more important that as musicians we don’t now regress back to that.” In fact, their dryly-British take on punchy blues-punk for “a really small, sweaty room”, seems a step forward in some ways.
It’s still tempting though to see Drenge’s Great Escape show, upscaled to the Corn Exchange, in light of that Detroit duo’s huge breakthrough at 2001’s SXSW festival – Austin, Texas’ model for Brighton’s own music showcase. And like The White Stripes with Texas, the Loveless brothers seem to have a fondness for our city. “We tried to invite a bunch of homeless people along to our gig”, remembers Eoin, of their last time there. “They were like, ‘yeah can we bring our dogs?’ and we were like, ‘yeah sure’…but I don’t think they got in with their dogs. Brighton’s a cool place and there’s lots of stuff going on, we’ve got a few friends down there”.
“There’s no great plan with what we do”, Eoin counters to any such (G)reat expectations though. “In Sheffield we have Tramlines but that’s less of an industry sort of thing, more like… drunken people roaming the streets. I don’t really have any preconceptions about what the festival will be like apart from like loads of people running around going, ‘ahh I didn’t get into this!’”.
Just as new to the festival as many of its punters may be, Drenge, at the very least, offer a fresh-faced talent to a day of promising new bands – one way of avoiding the surge. “They seem to have chosen a really good stage for us to play because we can just hang around there all day and not worry about running around town.”
‘Bloodsports’ is out now at drenge.bigcartel.com or on iTunes.