2nd Place Driver – Full Speed Bare Naked
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2. World Class Citizens
3. Don’t Feel A Thing
4. Waiting Game
5. U & I
7. World Class Citizens (Stripped)
8. Don’t Feel A Thing (Gypsy)
9. Waiting Game (Naked)
10. U & I (Funked Up)
2nd Place Driver have released yet another album. Where most of the music is going digital these days, 2nd Place Driver comes with an album that bridges the ‘old world’ of music with the new one. The nostalgic part is that they basically made an album with an A-side and a B-side. On the A-side (Full Speed) they do what they always do, they blow everything away with a burst of untamed energy and enthusiasm. On the B-Side they show their intimate side and they play the same 5 tracks undressed or differently dressed. It’s a remarkably well-done effort and 2nd Place Driver, once again, confirms they have the talent and power to rise to heights unknown.
The album starts with the track that is appropriately called Rockin. This decent alt-rocker is a good way to set the mood for the first half of the record. Rockin has that typical 2nd Place Driver enthusiasm and energy. Good start.
World Class Citizens
On the verses, 2nd Place Driver rocks it out and Rias Baarda’s vocals are stellar. A more electronic, danceable beat is hearable during the choruses. This track is a great combination of styles and shows how diverse, creative and talented 2nd Place Driver is. Probably the best track on the first half of the album.
Don’t Feel A Thing
This rock song seems to be ADD-fueled. With an infectious up-tempo beat and addicting guitar riff, and deliberately hasty vocals, this song’s on speed. It’s the musical variant of running. The lyrics are quite simple and it has a nice poppy dance beat later on in the song. Very enjoyable.
What 2nd Place Driver did so excellent on World Class Citizens, they repeat on this song. The only difference here is that the choruses are where the band rocks it out and the verses have the electronica. If you know 2nd Place Driver’s live reputation then you know that this song will be high on the request list. The energy, focus and ambition they put in this song is typical for this band, and live performances brings out the best in them.
U & I
U & I is the final track of the first half of the disc. It is the so-called ‘odd duck’ but 2nd Place Driver proved in the past they aren’t afraid to try something unexpected and surprise people with how they do it. And this is no exception. They come up with a song that is somewhere in between Massive Attack & Nine Inch Nails. A band must be talented if they can link industrial, pop, rock & electronica together so smoothly.
The 2nd part of the album, almost like a B-side, starts with the counterpart of Rockin. It’s called Swingin this time. And that’s an appropriate title, because it surely does swing. It has a little ska-ish feeling and sounds like something you’d want to hear on a warm summer night. But lets face it, 2nd Place Driver is a band you want to hear anyway, regardless what time of year or what the weather is.
World Class Citizens (Stripped)
I was impressed with this song in it’s full-blown electro-rock version, but this stripped down version might be just as impressive. It puts the song in a whole new light. The mellowness is everywhere and it fits the song just as well as the infectious energy burst on the first half of the album.
Don’t Feel A Thing (Gypsy)
How much fun is that! This song is SO MUCH different from the version on the first half of the album, you hardly recognize it. It’s still on speed though. Gypsy, that’s what they call this version, but there’s some near-scatting, there’s reggae/americana/roots-influences in it. But most of all it’s just one big bundle of fun.
Waiting Game (Naked)
2nd Place Driver stripped Waiting Game bare to the ground. It’s a lot mellower and the focus is on the vocals much more. I’ve seen 2nd Place Driver play intimate acoustic shows before, and this is a good example of how they sound during those shows. Intimate, emotional and hitting you right where you feel it most.
U & I (Funked Up)
This so-called ‘funked up’ version is quite impressive. Rias’ vocals sound a lot fuller and deeper on this version, than on the mysterious first version. It took me quite a few listens to get used to this version, well, to be honest the other version of U & I took me some time too. It’s just because 2nd Place Driver pulls a card I wasn’t expecting and caught me off guard. But I like it when bands do that. It shows they have balls.
2nd Place Driver released their previous album, “The Hungry Ones” not so long ago, but are back already with a very good record. “Full Speed Bare Naked” is mostly good fun, but it definitely is filled with high quality tracks. Where there is one big burst of energy on the A-side, the B-side shows a different side of 2nd Place Driver, that is much more versatile, intimate and personal. They show they are also very capable of making the songs sound little and personal, and they are just as convincing doing that, than when they blow your socks off with their highly addictive energetic electro-rock.