Scottish group Dropkick‘s latest record is a wonderfully jangly foray into power-pop music. The Scenic Route, out February 7 on Bobo Integral, features 10 tracks, each with a unique blend of rocking guitars, warm vocals and impossibly catchy melodies.
Primarily recorded live (with a few overdubs), The Scenic Route shows off Dropkick’s immense musical ability and cohesion; the four musicians (Andrew Taylor on vocals and guitar, Ian Grier on keyboard, Mike Foy on drums and Alan Shields on bass and vocals) play together well, and no instrument is overpowering.
And the music on The Scenic Route is, above all else, irresistible and jangly pop music. Some tracks feel folkier than others, with a lighter guitar blend (“A Matter of Time”), while others sound almost close to pop-punk with their deft, rocking guitar solos (“For Too Long”). On some songs, Taylor and Shields’ vocals complement each other well, creating beautiful harmonies (“Catching On” and “Feeling Never Goes Away”), while on others, the two voices create a pleasant sort of dissonance to match grungy bass guitar and driving drums (“Tomorrow”).
From quick, warm tracks with sunny lyrics (“I’m alive/Today/I hope this feeling never goes away” on “Feeling Never Goes Away”) to songs with a little more bite both musically and lyrically (“Time passes on/Words get overblown” on “Catching On”) to tracks that feel almost like surf-rock with organ-like sounds (“Disappearing”), each song utilizes a variation on the same neat blend of smooth, whispery vocals and characteristic indie-rock guitars and keyboard.
Still, there is nothing overdone about The Scenic Route. Its songs feel mellow despite a variety of tones and timbres, and Taylor and Shields’ vocals – whether in harmony or dissonance – feel muted and paper-thin in a wonderfully lo-fi manner.
The Scenic Route shows remarkable maturity and musicality. Its feeling ranges from bright to dark, yet the music is wonderfully mellow and jangly, and the record is truly a wonderful release. Find The Scenic Route now on all musical platforms, and stream, purchase and listen to Dropkick’s The Scenic Route via Bandcamp below.