Dan Cribb’s backing band ‘The Isolated’ is very suitably named. When he embarked upon a solo venture after fronting The Declines, Cribb reached out from Western Australia to Nick Diener of US punk band The Swellers to lend a hand with an EP. Now, with band made up of musicians from the world’s most isolated city (Perth) and unofficial member Diener, Dan Cribb releases As We Drift Apart, a full length album nostalgic of 90s punk rock.
A catchy guitar hook reels us in from the first track The Last Time, and you can easily imagine yourself at a gig, pushing up to the stage and nodding your head vigorously. There’s nothing too distinct about Cribb’s vocals here, but he picks a pop-punk sort of vibe and remains true to it the whole way through the album. Kisschasy frontman Darren Cordeux lends his vocals to the third track Let’s Move To New York but I don’t think it really adds anything to the listening experience. He doesn’t sound all different to Cribb and he struggles to break through the wall of guitar that he’s competing with.
There are definitely some really cool things about this album. The guitar sound is crisp, and with some jangly bass and energetic drums, there’s a lively feel for the whole duration. There are some tasty solos in Drive All Night and The Brightest Spark that give those songs a bit more melodic variety. As I just said, Cribb’s lead vocals are on point for what he’s going for, and he’s supported by harmonised back up pretty much all the time. The thing is, everything is just a bit too constant for my liking. I really enjoyed the sound over the first few tracks, but things didn’t really change all that much, to the extent that songs felt like they blended together.
There are exceptions; the beginning of The Feeling is intensely subdued with muted guitar and supercharged hi-hats, and the overall tone in The Only One channels a bit of Green Album Weezer. Standing on its own, each song on As We Drift Apart is catchy, tight and just generally strong. Dan Cribb can certainly write a tune, but as a whole package I feel like we’re hearing a little too much of a similar thing.