2nd February. It’s the day in 1933 silent movie star Buster Keaton was fired by MGM for his excessive drinking, but also the day the first 45 record went on sale in 1949. It’s also the day, in 1979 that Sid Vicious breathed his last, in the apartment of Michele Robinson his new girlfriend. But that was all in the past. On 2nd February this year the new EP by Sheffield band The Blind Drivers is released on iTunes.
The EP is titled ‘Its been a long time’ and maybe that’s a comment on the band itself, all of them now being in their thirties, although the band itself is relatively young. These ‘old’ heads are now producing consistently great songs as this EP proves, and have taken their influences (Blur, Arctic Monkeys are two that instantly spring to mind) and moulded them into smart, savvy indie-rock of their own making, with a little sprinkle of angular, almost post-punk thrown in for good measure.
The Ep kicks off with ‘Rich tea and sympathy’ swaggers along Arctic Monkeys style for a start before giving us a huge sing along chorus and then breaking down into what could have almost been a Housemartins song. Singer Matt Thompson leads the band with his distinctive northern twang, Best of all (for me) – It’s got hand claps. There is nothing that can go wrong with any song that’s got hand claps.
Have you ever broken somebody’s arm (I did), well I very nearly tore them apart snarls Thompson at the beginning of second track Safe from Tigers following on from a more angular guitar riff from the bands Paul Fletcher. Thing is, you believe him when he says it and off he sets of his wry tales in this uptempo number – no doubt one that’ll become a live favourite. Once again this track proves Blind Drivers have a real way with melody and Louise Pattersons drumming propels the track on at some pace.
Throwing Darts, the third of the tracks on the EP, is possibly my favourite. Its one of those songs that keeps you smiling and head nodding from beginning to end, Joe Doherty giving us some funky bass lines to grab hold of . The lyrics too show off a wry humour (‘take your shoes off and learn to count’) during their tales of everyday life.
The final track is Slow, and it brings the whole EP to a beautifully subdued close. It almost sounds (and I’m going to get quite obscure here) like 90′s Leeds bad Bridewell Taxis playing a Sundays track (I’ll wait while you look those up). Every band has influences – its moulding those influences into your own sound that’s the important thing, and Blind Drivers do just that.
Blind Drivers – It’s been a long time EP
If you’re round and about in Sheffield on the day of the launch, the band are headlining at the iconic Leadmill in celebration. You’ll struggle to get a ticket st the rate they’re going but you could try here. Support for the night is provided by The Sherlocks, Kyle Baker, The Dugouts and Sabella.
Did you ever feel like taking a chance? sings Thompson in Safe from Tigers. We did, and more than that, we’re glad we did.