This review was written by Community Contributor, Luke Joesph Elliott.
So, Dial Drive and Broken Down via Orlando, Florida. I love Dial Drive so, so much and I’m so glad I discovered them even though the gig that led me to them never actually happened. That said, writing this review breaks my heart but I have to be honest.
Ok, rewind, that makes me sound like I hate their new EP Broken Down. I don’t, far from it. I’m going to get the biggest negative out of the way first. I’m not a fan of the title track. To me, it is the weakest song on the EP. The only way I can describe it is lacklustre. Think of Blink-182‘s ‘Feeling This’. Perhaps it’ll grow on me, it’s not bad, it just doesn’t go anywhere. Just as you think a punchy chorus is gonna kick in it doesn’t. There’s a vague attempt at jumping up to screaming vocals and whether they didn’t want to go too heavy I’m not sure but I really think taking it full scream there would have done wonders for the track. Perhaps it’ll be better live.
With the worst thoughts out the way, let’s focus on the positives. The EP is a departure from the passionate, bouncy, classic-sounding Pop-Punk band I fell in love with but it brings a new maturity with it. ‘Gasoline’ is an almost Folk-Punk sounding track that succeeds where the title track failed. It’s mellow, yet passionate and lyrically topical. ‘Gasoline’ referencing being confined during lockdown with someone you’re struggling to continue connecting with. The layered vocals that build in the last forty seconds perfect track two.
‘You Seemed Fine’ follows on with a hauntingly poignant tale of implied suicide. There can never be enough songs addressing this. I would say some of the lyrics could be referencing an unexpected breakup. However, that would be an injustice to a beautifully done mental health track. It isn’t overly self-indulgent nor is it guilting the person for leaving and neither is it full of false platitudes like many tracks with this subject matter. It’s just a simple “I’m sorry the world got to you like that and I’m sorry I couldn’t see your pain”. This troubled writer who deals with “those” thoughts frequently appreciates that. Thanks, guys.
Onto the final two tracks now. ‘Never Go Home’, a song about moving away from a toxic person, opens with some gorgeous piano work and gives us more of those great layered vocals plus a wonderful acoustic guitar solo. Closing the EP is ‘Meaningless’, an excellent choice for the ending. Simple beginnings crescendo into a powerful explosion of passion & angst that never slows and leaves you feeling ready to fight the world, which is a welcome sensation after four chilled tracks and suggests that the “other” Dial Drive is still there. I’m interested to see where they go from here.
Addendum: In conversation with the band after writing this, I’ve been told that there will be more of the full-throttle Dial Drive that I know & love. Broken Down is the band’s direct reflection and feeling on current events and a push towards diversifying their catalogue. This topical feeling is best reflected via Broken Down’s moniker and the emotionally illustrative artwork. So if this review has intrigued you please be sure to give their last release, Wasted Time, a listen too and know that my love for them has not been shaken.