The Drin – Today My Friend You Drunk The Venom
1.25.23 by Zach Mitchell
What’s in with the water in Cincinnati these days? Not only is the city the newest home of incredible punk label Feel It Records, it’s also host to my favorite cadre of art freaks in America: the Future Shock crew. The label – operated by at least one member of The Serfs, Crime of Passing, and The Drin – has been bringing us homegrown, wigged out post-punk since its start as Wasted Tapes in 2016. Every release from this label feels like a transmission from a dark corner of middle America and Today My Friend You Drunk The Venom might be the most claustrophobic yet.
Venom feels built from the ground up with rhythm at the forefront. Almost every song seems to have multiple percussion parts layered on top of each other, even if it’s as simple as an extra snare playing on the offbeats (“Five and Dime Conjurers”) or as complex as whatever the hell is going on with the metal clangings of “Peaceful, Easy, Feeling.” The Drin is focused on exploring the purpose and function of rhythms from different directions. Motorik pounding gets mixed with dub, snares float around in the mix, and unexplainable things explode in the background. It’s a head trip at the construction site. “Post-punk” may be overused as a genre descriptor and overdone as a genre, but Venom feels like a return to classic post-punk. It’s almost the midpoint between Metal Box and Flowers of Romance we never got.
Songs like “Stonewallin’” and “Mozart on the Wing” feel hazy without losing the punk pulse at the heart of all The Drin leader’s Dylan McCartney’s projects. The Drin has also christened itself an honest to God band with this album, expanding the lineup to a six piece and leading to a more consistent sound throughout. Previous albums have felt more like proofs of concept or sketches of what The Drin could be rather than what it is. With Venom, the band has finally found its niche: dark, ominous, bummer but not bummed, pounding post-punk.