Leon casino, By Jack Daniel Betz
Although people seem to have known about them longer than I have, Night Drive appears to have blown up overnight, or at least in an impressively short amount of time. Sporting a polished-sounding debut EP and a very professional Internet presence, Night Drive can teach other Houston bands a lot of things. Their low-key media strategy leaves people like myself saying, “Where the hell did they come from?! And why do they sound so tight?!” instead of the usual, “Cool, I like them now, after they fucked around, very publicly and visibly for [pick a number] years.” The latter isn’t really a Houston phenomenon as much as it is a local-tier phenomenon in general.
It may sound shallow to focus so much on marketing/presentation, but the slickness of this debut and their presence, makes the whole project feel very big and possibly a breakthrough for the Houston (and Austin) musicscape. This is surely because both members have been part of established Texas bands and have gotten those bugs out their respective systems.
The sound is both and infectious and marketable at the same time. The post-punk revival beats are reminiscent of young upstarts Two Door Cinema Club, but the electronic elements and dramatic vocals conjure images of Kraftwerk and Australian dance duo The Presets. It passes the truest test of likeability in that it is ridiculously easy to dance to. It’s really an ingenious strategy. Even before more detailed questions like lyrical content or originality come into play, an impulse to dance grabs hold and does not let go.
“Drones,” which was the duo’s first choice as single, is obviously the best track. However, “Sea of Light” comes in a close second, with it’s happy-go-lucky beat and no-brainer sing-along chorus. Band influences New Order and The Drums are easy to hear in the high-treble post-punk basslines of whimsical closing track “After Dark.” Now just produce a decent full-length and you two will go down permanently in the annals of Texas music, no doubt whatsoever.