A good, rough opener. Great alternative rock in the tradition of Stone Temple Pilots Black Crowes & Audioslave. The typical vocal sound of Rias Baarda makes it easily sound like 2nd Place Driver. It is an advantage to have a singer with such a recognizable voice. The songs will quite easily sound like your own. Astray sets the mood quite well and it makes you eager for more. A good opener for this new album.
The lead single for the album, My Mistake features a lot of synthesizer. Unlike their previous work the focus here is more on the synthesizer than on the electro-beats. The whole album is a mix of rocking out and songs to dance to. My Mistake is a song that enables you to do both. The synthesizer sets a danceable mood. And even though there’s a slight shift in focus, musically, My Mistake is still filled with that typical 2nd Place Driver sound. A song that will easily get stuck in your mind and after listening to the song a few times you will be able to sing along to it. Good pick for a lead single.
Boys & Girls
The intro of the song isn’t very original. It reminds us of Bowling For Soup, American Hi-Fi, and the likes. But after that the song gets going and it sounds like an ADD Bowie. Which in this case is a very good thing. Because the song doesn’t lack to pick up the pace and keeps going with an addicting rhythm. Good hooks and great vocals. Maybe a single later on?
Another rock song, but yet very danceable. Some parts remind us a little of White Stripes, but thanks to very clever use of the synthesizer and varying tempo, 2nd Place Driver makes this song completely their own. Most likely one of the strongest songs on this collection.
This song grabs back towards the sound on their debut album. It’s much closer to those songs than it is to the songs on “The Hungry Ones”. However, the, at times, almost stripped down song gives a lot of focus to the vocals and it really works out for 2nd Place Driver. Without overdoing it, they subtly bring this song to a climax. The typical alternative twists they give their songs is apparent and is becoming their trademark. This song could be a great closer for live sets. It’s a little slower of pace than most of the songs on the album, but still danceable.
2nd Place Driver didn’t completely let go of the programming. On this song we can hear Bart Dietvorst’s creations, supported by guitar & percussion, and topped off with vocals. The song, however, stripped down from all the extras, with just an acoustic guitar and subtle percussion would’ve made an amazing bonus track for this CD.
Being the follow-up single for this album, Smile is another very danceable track. With a great programming intro, followed up by the drums, this track is off to a good start. Smile is one of the most creative songs on the album. When you close your eyes and imagine 2nd Place Driver perform this song, you can literally feel the energy. The band played this song before the album was released, in a different version, and already the song got a good response from the audience, but in this newly, reworked version, I can only imagine it will be received even better.
Maybe an underrated song. It might not be the track that jumps out the first time you listen to this album, but this groovy rocker will stick with you. It a song that won’t get boring. And it has great energy. 2nd Place Driver has the great ability to write songs that all have the potential to make a crowd go wild, and get completely into it. This is absolutely so for Sinking Sand.
Great beat, but the song itself doesn’t reach the level set by the rest of the album. It is, however, single material. It is catchy. And probably the most mainstream song on the album. Which is something that isn’t really 2nd Place Driver. It’s admirable they venture that way by trying something different. But I don’t think it’s the way to go for 2nd Place Driver.
I’m gonna name a few band: Jet, Gem, maybe a little bit Killers. Straight forward pop/rock song. Nothing too special, but very tightly performed. And very well-produced, as is the whole album. I have nothing against this song, but it doesn’t really stick with me either.
The Hungry Ones
Title track of the album. Another industrial alt-rocker. 2nd Place Driver doing something they are known for and do very well. Up-tempo alt-rockers with and industrial or progressive twist. The Hungry Ones is another perfect example of what 2nd Place Driver is capable of. Sometimes it reminds me of their older song Sense of Self.
Blood Shot Eyes
This album closer, featuring “Wealthy Beggar’s” Derrick Skyvan. This is a great choice for an album closer. This emotionally loaded anthem-ballad (lack of a better word) does not feature the typical 2nd Place Driver sound, it’s a fuller, more anthemic sound that fills up the room. And the addition of piano really does justice to the song. It almost sounds like classic rock is back alive.
With this collection of 12 songs, 2nd Place Driver shows they still have what it takes to deliver a high quality album. With even more variety and creativity, they are well on their way to make a great name for themselves all around the world. Playing shows with critically acclaimed acts like Maxïmo Park, Racoon, Infadels, and others, more and more people are aware of 2nd Place Driver, as they should be.