Drive Fast / Heartland Outlaws
July 26, 2007
Here's the disadvantage of being a band circa 2007: some say it's all been done, every landmark movement's been bled dry.
But turn that logic on its head and you'll realize that the one great advantage a band might have today is the ability to put some of the best aspects of some great music together, mix it up and, hey, presto, it just might sound cool. AaronHeindel, Johnny Schwartz and Neil Kerns of Drive Fast manage that neat trick by combining the raw immediacy of punk and the swagger of meat-and-potatoesMidwestern rock, mixed together with some modern crunch and classic pop and folk-rock touches. What's that you say? The Replacements already did it? That'sjust part of the mix, my friend: welcome to the 00s.Heartland Outlaws is a fast n' dirty, slightly rootsy Middle America primer that offers the timelessly raw appeal ofpunk-informed rock, as is the case in "Crash and Burn." Sure, there'sa tempo change or two to keep things interesting, but it's the unvarnished Westerbergian(my term, which is mine and belongs to me) drive of the song that sets up thisalbum. Gutteral nicotine vocals introduce the rollicking "Lexington,"just barely steering the tune around its own twists and turns, Cobain-style.Things slow down to a Crazy Horse molasses tempo on "No Bright Star,& quota plaintive lament with some ragged but right vocal harmonies.
The Costello-like timbre of the vocals on "Muddy Banks of the Wabash & quote is accompanied by a spare acoustic guitar, bass and shaker. It's a highlight that also provides a meditative break in the action amongst rockers like"Something to Break" and the aggressive, hybrid blues of "BigFish Blues." Pub-ready and cocky as all get out, "Gonna Miss Me"puts Drive Fast in league with local room-shakers like the Swingin' Angels,while the closer, Midwest Storms," returns to an acoustic-drivenballad style that recalls nothing if not vintage Uncle Tupelo. These guys trulyput the "heartland" in Heartland Outlaws. For more, go towww.myspace.com/drivefastmusic.