4 years and a new member later, Drenge made their return last month with the release of their long-awaited third album, Strange Creatures.
A complete rollercoaster in the form of just ten songs, Strange Creatures is ambitious and innovative; the band themselves labelled it ‘the most considered record we have ever made’ and this sentiment is palpable throughout. Indeed, the name ‘Drenge’ may be taken from the Danish word for ‘boys’, but on this album a sense of maturity and reflection on youth emerges in a way the band haven’t really expressed before. Admittedly, the sporadic nature of the album means it is sometimes a bit incohesive – to an extent, however, the chaos adds to the tone of the album: it feels like a high-speed adrenaline rush and the manic diversity in some of the songs is perhaps the reason behind this.
The narrative-driven ‘Prom Night’ is a stand out on the album, creating a riveting dichotomy between the sickly sweet and the deeply gruesome; there is something inherently unnerving in this haunting moment on the album which in turn is inherently Drenge. ‘Teenage Love’, by contrast, is a dark, twisted experiment in 80s synth rife with ferocity and angst. Without a doubt the shining star on Strange Creatures is ‘Avalanches’ – it unearths a softer, introspective side to the band that we rarely get to hear. The album sits somewhere between anarchy and the heartfelt, and at times this can be jarring – at certain points the album starts to melt into a continuous song, but the band manage to pull something new out of the bag to create an album that although chaotic, is also consistently innovative. Though inarguably refined, they still manage to emulate the thing that fundamentally makes this album Drenge through and through – their ability to do something discernibly different to other bands and pull it off once again. Yes, it is as strange as the title suggests, but would it be the Drenge the early 2010s knew and loved without this innate strangeness?
Header image via Drenge