Courtesy Drop’s latest album on Animal Style Records, “Songs to Drive To; Cry, and Make Love To,” possesses a sound that can be loosely described as a marriage of indie rock and post-hardcore, though neither of those genre terms really do it complete justice. Their sound is constructed from a handful of elements, each indispensable to what they do. At its heart: warm, dirty guitar which plays like an old, threadbare garment that should have been thrown away long ago but just fits too damn comfortably and is just so beautiful for all of its imperfections. Then there are moments when the guitar is something else entirely, a stark contrast to the former account, during which it gets so sharp it feels like it can cut you just for the listening. Not just running parallel to the guitar but occasionally overlapping is the bass; its parts acting as the connective tissue between rhythm and melody. The drums are wonderfully technical as only indie rock drums can be, yet not overly so, and they often manage to beat the songs back to life after they lay down to die. Lastly, there are the vocals, which alternate between an urgent tenor which rides the waves of sound forward until they break across the shore of the song, lackluster utterances which somehow aren’t incongruous to the poetry on his lips, and little screams scattered throughout for emphasis. And that is only a fraction of what can be expected when one listens to Courtesy Drop’s “Songs to Drive To; Cry, and Make Love To.”
While so many people like to look back and carry on about how indie rock was so much better in the ‘90s, when bands like Braid, Cursive, Mineral, The Promise Ring, and Piebald were scene favorites, I have thoughts to the contrary. Granted, those were great times for the scene, and those bands were undeniably exceptional. But, at the risk of facing a good deal of contention, I dare say that there has never been a better time in the indie rock world than now. I mean, not only have a handful of the old greats reunited and rejoined the scene, like Braid and The Jazz June, there are so many worthwhile new indie rock bands out there whose music is positively amazing. Consider the latest bands on record labels like Animal Style and Topshelf, and how many of them are doing for today’s indie rock, emocore, post-punk, and post-hardcore what Braid, Cursive, Mineral, The Promise Ring, and Piebald did for those genres in their day. And Courtesy Drop is one of those bands.
“Songs to Drive To; Cry, and Make Love To” is a very fitting title. I have done two of those things to the songs on this album—crying wasn’t one of them, mind you—and they proved fine accompaniment in both instances. Truly; these songs by Courtesy Drop are the sort of songs you can drive all night to, the headlights of other vehicles forming blurred strings of white illumination as if they are all one, and in the distance the illusion of the moon chasing the treetops as you speed down the highway to this or that destination. And as far as making love…well, these songs by Courtesy Drop have a minor emocore trait to them, just enough of one to prove useful in such situations. If you have already obtained a copy of the album and listened to it thoroughly, I ask, “How was it for you?”
“Songs to Drive To; Cry, and Make Love To” by Courtesy Drop was officially released on October 15, 2013. And it is available on vinyl LP and digital download formats from Animal Style Records and select online music distros.