The Drin: Engines Sing for the Pale Moon 12"

The Drin: Engines Sing for the Pale Moon 12"

Tags: · 20s · melodic · post-punk · punk
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It begins with a rustle of noise, equally reminiscent of distorted factory noise and a cassette recording of cathedral bells unspooling, before a near-robotic beat and stuttering bassline enter the fray. Initially, you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve stumbled across the lost tapes of Joy Division’s early Warsaw incarnation, but the atonal blast of strafing guitars fading in and out soon make you realise this is a very different proposition. This is The Drin, and ‘Engines Sing for the Pale Moon’ is their debut album. It’s also one of the best things you’ll hear all year.

Helmed by Dylan McCartney, drummer of the rock band Vacation, The Drin originally released this album as a hyper-limited cassette via Future Shock. It’s as much of a departure from McCartney’s usual output as it is for Drunken Sailor Records; songs don’t so much explode out of the gate as drift towards you like a creeping fog that turns your skin inside-out and leaves you sloshing organs all across the carpet.

Second track ‘Guillotine Blade’ shows the pieces all coming together, a dubbed-out riot of claustrophobic noise that feels like Pere Ubu trapped in a cupboard one minute, and ‘Warm Jets’-era Eno trying on Bauhaus’ trenchcoats the next. Meanwhile, ‘Down Her Cheek A Party Tear’ unfolds across jittering, skittering rustles of drums and an undulating bassline, making you wonder why post-millennial post-punk so often settles for dickheads shouting non-sequiturs over landfill indie, when it could be entering these dark, unsettling territories instead.

The Drin like to get weird. The Drin like to get wild. The Drin rarely cut loose, but that’s because the trip is already intense and haunting enough without things getting raucous in here as well. Hey kids, turn off those [shite band name redacted] records and get into this; you deserve so much better, and better’s right here. Fall into it, immerse yourself and step forward into a brave new world. I love this record.
Will Fitzpatrick.

Our take: I’d noticed a few people I trust hyping up this record by the Drin on Drunken Sailor, and I’m glad I took the time to check this out, because it’s a fantastic record. Originally released in a small cassette edition, Drunken Sailor plucked this gem from potential obscurity and gave it the wider release it deserved. Describing the Drin’s sound is difficult, because they don’t sound quite like anything I’ve heard before. I’ve seen a few people (including Will Fitzpatrick in the label’s official blub) mention Joy Division, but I feel like that does the Drin a disservice because they sound so completely different from the legions of Joy Division wannabees that have populated the punk scene for the past forty-odd years. Thankfully, you won’t hear any faux-Ian Curtis baritone vocals here, but you will hear a couple of tracks that have chord progressions that are familiar from Joy Division songs as well as some of the subtler elements of Joy Division’s sound, such as the heavily processed drum sounds and the steady motorik rhythms that powered so many of their greatest songs. But there are other ingredients in the stew too. I hear plenty of UKDIY pop in the Drin’s scrappy but accessible sound, and there’s a palpable (and non-cheesy) reggae influence that you hear in some of the heavy bass lines (see the standout track “Down Her Cheek a Pearly Tear”) and the frequent use of the melodica. It all adds up to a record that’s dense with distinctive atmosphere. Engines Sing for the Pale Moon really transports you to another place, and it’s a place I’ve been addicted to visiting ever since the first time I put this record on.