Cornflames – The Farewell Drive

Cornflames
The Farewell Drive

Some people will argue that it is better to make a progressive failure than a mediocre album that treads the same water. I’ve played around with this idea many times when trying to rationalize how a band can go from making an amazing record to releasing a complete turd. I’ve often wondered whether these bands realized they were making great music as it came together or if they just stumbled onto greatness and afterwards fell out of it just as easily. Then there is Cornflames, a band that I have never heard before with a record that sounds so much like a vast number of other artists. Is it true that the first album a band makes has to be an amalgamation of its influences, nearly devoid of creativity? What about The Arcade Fire? How does a band come out of the gate fully formed like that? Even Radiohead’s first record nearly sucks…I mean by the time The Bends was released there was no reason at all to listen to Pablo Honey. Ever.

The Farewell Drive is not a terrible record; however, some might argue that it is terribly mediocre. If you grew up in the 90s like me then you’ve definitely heard this all before – the dual vocal trade off a la Hot Water Music, the catchy “rock” choruses similar to the second Get Up Kids album, but even more than that the guitar sound and vocal timbre are reminscent of later Jawbreaker records like 24 Hour Revenge Therapy or Dear You. Nope, nothing new here. This isnt to say that Cornflames are without their merits; younger emo kids might be pretty into it. I never really cared for this stuff the first time around though. I’ll take Mineral or Sunny Day Real Estate over the aforementioned bands any day of the week.

Most of the songs sound pretty similar in their verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus formats. Cornflames’ music is upbeat and catchy while remaining at a moderate pace throughout most of the record. If you happen to like some of the newer Deep Elm bands like Burns Out Bright or Lock and Key then this might be right up your alley, but I’m going to pass on this one.