Two years after the release of their debut album, X, The Driver Era is back with their sophomore album. Girlfriend, a pandemic album, was recorded in the Californian garage studio of the band members Ross and Rocky Lynch. A leap away from the brother’s time in pop-rock family band R5, the album exhibits a new, eclectic sound over its two discs and fifteen tracks. Where X brought soulful funk with songs full of depth, Girlfriend embraces music with evocative grooves. Below, The London Centrist takes you through the album track-by-track.
Heart of Mine
Starting off the album with energy, rhythm and fun, it’s soft synth-y piano blends into Rocky’s slick guitar lick to allow this song to show off the band’s musical prowess. Top tip: skip to 1:30 and you’ll get lost in Ross’ silky vocals as he wonders: “I always forget, when do flowers bloom?”
Cray z babe e
With a constant drum beat, echoing R5, and the first dual lead vocals by The Driver Era, the song blends old and new. Interspersed with a phone dial and romantic voicemail, cray z babe e (and its title) show off the band’s bold new direction.
Leave Me Feeling Confident
Sexy and saxy, bringing in a guitar solo from ex-band mate Ellington, the raw and seductive vocals in Leave Me Feeling Confident are certain to leave some listeners feeling more than confident.
Featuring lead vocals from Rocky, the song manifests the elder brother’s ability to take charge of a song and become a star. Potentially alluding to his feelings towards his girlfriend, “beautiful girl” is looped as he jams out on the bass.
Written about Ross’ girlfriend and former co-star on The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Jaz Sinclair, #1 Fan’s bubbly lyrics and sombre beat combine to create a surreal smiley song. With both brothers in long-term relationships, this song is the first to explicitly show just how much this body of work is a honeymoon album.
A highlight in Rocky’s production skills Heaven Angel and its melodious lyrical repetition of ‘Oh my I think I’m in love’ make it one of the most catchy songs on the album. Special mention goes to Ross’ rasp which adds a rich heaviness to the song.
When You Need a Man
This song, first written in 2018, is the first by the duo which echoes the pop sentiment of R5’s studio album Sometime Last Night. Swaddled in romantic lyrics, When You Need a Man is a charmer that is sure to leave many fan’s heart-eyed.
Plz don’t come around interlude
Interludes tend to make or break albums. With a melancholic piano accompaniment, and slurred lyrics, this one is the perfect contrast to what comes next, without taking much attention.
OMG Plz Don’t Come Around
Written about their younger brother Ryland’s messy break-up, OMG draws you in, spits you back out and swallows you whole all over again. Listen to it, you’ll see what we mean.
Confusion, confusion and confusion. No one quite knows what this song means, but the multiple instrumental layers help to add depth to Rocky’s largely monotone vocals . Watch the music video and get even more confused, but in a non-menacing way.
Finally, the rock’n’roll side of two brothers who have toured the world since they were teenagers emerges. Reflective on his behaviour, Ross sings his staccato verses with such an air of arrogance, it’s sure to be a headbanger on tour.
The catchiest song in the album, Fade allows listeners to hear the full range of both brothers’ talent with Ross’ vocals and Rocky’s synth bridge. The depressing lyrics reconcile with the song’s mellow line and somehow make it seem like everything is going to be okay.
A musical ode to alcohol, Rocky sings about partying, drinking and forgetting. With a catchy chorus and crazy drum beat, Rocky also shows off his daring production with a ticking audio. Less USB stick and more flash memory.
Take Me Away
The first song where the lyrics and melody seem to agree, Take Me Away represents younger brother Ross’ reluctance to leave a chapter of his life that has come to a natural end. With a cinematic music video to pair, this song seems to represent the brothers at their full artistic potential.
The lost twin to the band’s morbid Welcome to the End of Your Life from X, Forever Always seems like a creative step back. But with a conclusive confidence that can only come from a band that knows exactly what it wants, it is a perfect symbolic end to this honeymoon record.
Listen to the album by clicking here.