SH | After the demise of their previous band, Polytechnic, Driver Drive Faster grabbed their name from the opening line of one of Auden’s poems – ‘Calypso’ – and then began assembling their oevre ‘in a makeshift studio above a tanning salon in Chorlton.’ All of this is appropriate, because they sound as though they have been beamed to rainy, grimy ‘Greater’ Manchester from California by mistake, before taking a deliberate, fundamentally Anglo-American name, and then fusing their sound to match.
They seem to have taken the journey Graham Nash took, musically and actually, only in reverse, and this backtracking is also appropriate, as the ghost of psychedelia has been tapping at their windows too. They sound like the early, haunting records by Lenola, ‘My Invisible Name’ perhaps, or The Clientele. In this they seem to draw equally on the aesthetics of British shoegazers and American artists such as Laura Nyro and The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. In fact, the jazzy inflection and vocal innocence, albeit with its dark edge, is very Bob Markley. ‘All the voices’ they sing, as they call up some more from the past, to deliver a line about ‘paying debts’, which is fast becoming a double, triple, quadruple take on many things in mid-2012, via a wrecked Alex Chilton, or perhaps, an equally enlightened Tom Rapp.
But there is nothing clichéd or thinly retro about Driver Drive Faster either. On ‘Voices pt.2’, slow motion ripples pulse under the guitar, giving just a touch of the southern gothic, it’s heavy on the reverb in places, but full yet sparse, if that makes any sense: The sound is minimal, mythical and strange. Static Caravan have then pressed all this in transparent lime green shellac and wrapped it in dark blue card pressed with gold foil.
In short, this is utterly exquisite.