Secret Meeting score: 77
by Philip Moss
Much of the talk in the build up to the release of Sheffield based Drenge’s new album has been the four year gap since they released Undertow in 2015. ‘We missed so many deadlines,’ they told Dork magazine. So, the obvious question is naturally, is it worth the wait?
Bonfire of the City Boys is underpinned by a scuzz bass taken straight from The Shins’ Phantom Limb, but as soon as Eoin Loveless’ glorious sprechgesang vocals kick in it’s plainly obvious that this is not a melancholic piece of twee pop. Lyrically, Loveless’ noirish narrative voice shows development, and is the perfect introduction to the wonderful storytelling that comes on the likes of Prom Night and No Flesh Road.
Much has also been made of the band taking on additional members to play live. Lead single, This Dance, is musically most similar to what’s come before – in particular Running Wild from Undertow – as guitars swirl and Rory Loveless’ drums thump through to its conclusion. However, on Autonomy and Teenage Love electronics enter the mix, but don’t see the group lose focus. No, Strange Creatures is the most concise, carefully constructed record in the band’s short history. So when the results are this good, who’s going to slap their wrists for missing a few deadlines?