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Hollow Loss


Artist: Drev
Label: Labile Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 15 November 2019

Labile Records releases Hollow Loss, the sophomore album by Rock/Industrial outfit Drev – which is the ‘musical expression’ of Boston, USA’s Jess Hewitt. This is the long overdue follow-up to 2008’s Failure (the gap between the two being due to side projects and ill health). The record is written, recorded and mixed by Hewitt, with Mike Wells handling the mastering...

We begin with 'Welcome Back', a full-on bass-driven collective with solid drums and slightly distorted vocals. The whole sound is controlled by electronica, which constantly plays with the format. 'Crossover' has an atmospheric and spooky opening which introduces off-kilter bass and drums. It has a conventional mid-pace, and the clear vocals get deliciously swamped in the chorus by a heavier sound. Later in the track the weird electronica tugs at the edges of the sound. The guitar tends to be a more trebly setting in contrast to the other instruments, but it works quite well. I thought that the opening to 'Easy Addict' had been corrupted, until I realised the opening had achieved this effect purposefully. Electronic drums give this a distorted feel, which the full band sound bursts out of in what can only be described as a chorus of sorts. Again, weird noises are introduced to play with what is already present. This third track is quite diverse, incorporating lots of off-kilter distortions to keep the listener guessing at the direction of the song.

'Pavement' is a very short linking track, as is 'Tremen’s Edge', with slow and moody piano and whispering noises. 'Drifting' has an almost amateurish mono guitar riff opening, which purposefully slams us into a full and wide band sound, with a washing in and out ‘whooshing’ sweeping across the whole. The controlling electronica plays with the early verse, making it very stilted and setting the listener on edge, before fluttering into a more full chorus sound with an Industrial edge. 'Friend of a Friend' begins reminiscent of a later Gary Numan song. This has more of a subdued presence, with an inherent bass run and clattering drums. No real changes in this one, which makes it probably the weakest track. A fuzzy clattering introduces the ‘catchy’, full-on electronic Pop/Rock song, 'Catch'. I think this was a single; if it wasn’t it should be. Once again, the edges are nibbled at by fuzz, distortion and odd sound effects. A great song.

We wrap-up with 'Carefree'. This starts with the sound of an early portable drum machine, which I hate because I have experience from their inception. Thankfully, the normal acoustic drums take over. This track has a more standard format. It’s okay, but doesn’t experiment with and push the boundaries of what’s possible, as many of the other tracks do. I feel that 'Pavement', 'Friend of a Friend', 'Tremen’s Edge', and 'Carefree' could have been substituted for a much more fun and edgy song like 'Catch', or 'Easy Addict'.

Preconceptions can be misleading. For some unknown reason I wasn’t expecting much from this release. I’m happy to be proved wrong in this instance, Hollow Loss generally being an enjoyable collection of songs that span the genres of Rock, Industrial and pre-New Wave Electronica. A pleasant surprise.


Ty Power

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