In A Million PiecesEpitaph Records
By Bobby Gorman
The opening song on this album basically describes the entire album perfectly with two quotes. The first quote from New Eyes Open is “We have been left for dead/in our own fucking beds/ forced to start again/ with new eyes open/ the end’s where it begins;” which is basically a metaphor for the creation of the band in question. Formed from the ashes of the now defunct, but forever popular, Hot Water Music, The Draft‘s humble beginnings start at an ending. When Chuck Ragan decided to focus more on his family and a small acoustic project, Jason Black (bassist), Chris Wollard (vocalist/guitarist), and George Rebelo (drummer) weren’t ready to lay down with their eyes closed in their own beds. Instead, they went out, found Todd Rockhill, and started writing a new album under a new moniker which, in turns brings us to the second quote of the song. A quote that describes the album beautifully: “That’s what I like about it, it’s not so complicated.” Whether they were talking about the music or not, you can’t help but see the connection between the line and the album.
While it is true that it’s not an incredibly complicated album, the album is also far from simplistic. Gone are the dueling, back and forth vocals that were constantly present in Hot Water Music. Gone are the insane, interlocking guitar riffs that melt your mind. Gone is Chuck Ragan’s signature vocal style; but while there are the few things gone, there are still many new things popping up. Wollard takes up the vocal duties for himself, only getting back-up vocals on a select few sections (All We Can Count On for example). Black and Rebelo keep the rhythm section moving in the same speed and tone of their former effort. And you still get the crusty, punk rock sound that Hot Water Music fans had come to love.
Even though there are definitely similarities between the two bands, and songs like Lo Zee Rose and Impossible could easily fit into its predecessor’s back catalogue, The Draft have still managed to create their own identity. An identity that sees them stepping out from their former shadow to create their own on the punk rock scene. The music is still rough and slightly distorted, but it features a lot more melody compared to some of the band’s earlier work, so much in fact that at times you wouldn’t even be able to compare to the two.
The trio of musicians may have been left for dead, but any fear that you wouldn’t see them again can not be put to rest as they’ve crawled out from their beds and started anew; and Hot Water Music fans should rejoice at the fact. It won’t change your life, but it will keep you entertained.