Months ago, Derek Kortepeter sent me this two song single from his new project, Amherst Drive. I said I’d write it up in these pages, no problem. I threw it in the iPod, played it, loved it… and then didn’t write it up… Then I took that break for a couple of months… all the while neglecting my promise to Derek to do this… All apologies, Derek!
And it’s a damn cool single, too.
Breakdown drives hard enough, with pounding drums, wailing and crunchy guitars, throbbing bass… all of it tight and lean. The vocals, though, roil over the top in an almost Cure-Joy Division-like way… such a juxtaposition is at first jarring, but as you listen along it totally makes its own kind of sense. There’s a duality here, it’s plaintive and it rocks.
Better Way is more of a ballad, glistening and jangly. In the best lo-fi 90s alt-rock tradition, this one endears because it isn’t perfect. It doesn’t need to be – it’s all heart. Your ear is drawn in, and by the time the echoey guitar solo rolls around you’re already long hooked.
I can tell this is a project born of passion, vision, and clarity. Well done, Derek!
And you can get your Amherst Drive by following this link!