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posted: 7/29/2014 5:45 AM

Muscle, menace from Drenge on debut album

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  • The self-titled debut album from Drenge is pretty much perfect.

    The self-titled debut album from Drenge is pretty much perfect.

By Chris Talbott
Associated Press

Drenge, "Drenge" (Infectious Music)

British rock duo Drenge's self-titled debut is pretty much perfect.

That's not a word critics of any kind should throw around lightly, and it's not done so here.

Young twentysomething brothers Eoin and Rory Loveless distill almost everything that's been great about rock 'n' roll over the last 25 years into 12 diamond-cut songs on their U.S. debut. Most of "Drenge" is a flurry of punches, scraped knuckles, teeth on the floor and the sound of a switchblade clicking open, leaving the listener with a giddy sense of euphoria that was common in rock 'n' roll's pre-malaise days but is truly hard to come by now.

Any guitar-and-drums duo is going to draw comparisons with The Black Keys and Jack White's White Stripes, and the boys do capture the same kind of bravado those acts had in their two-piece days. But they've also ingested Josh Homme's swaggering sneer, Nirvana's elegant anger, Mudhoney's noirish sense of humor, Weezer's melodic compulsion, The Arctic Monkeys' unshakable confidence and Built to Spill's appreciation for epic drama.

The album opens with the down-tuned mood setter "People in Love Make Me Feel Yuck" before careening down a darkened highway with the lights off on the three-song run of "Dogmeat," "I Want to Break You in Half" and "Bloodsports." The brothers never let up, building the pace with "Gun Crazy," "I Don't Want to Make Love to You" and "Nothing" before unleashing the sprawling eight-minute "Let's Pretend," a study in post-punk slow build that finishes like Thor's hammer.

Yep, pretty much perfect.

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