Driver Side Impact – The Very Air We Breathe

Driver Side Impact
The Very Air We Breathe

The Very Air We Breathe is the debut full-length release from the Cleveland, Ohio six-piece Driver Side Impact. With one previously self-released EP under their belt, We Will Disappear, the group has taken three years to put together a full set, backed by a label. The group originally started as friends in a less serious manner but after the hardships typical of touring and trying to put a record out, many of the founding members found it difficult to commit to a future with the band. After undergoing several lineup changes, the band now feels they are stronger than ever and are looking towards a bright future.

“Introduction” fittingly opens the album with atmospheric sounds and various electronic washes that leads into something that sounds a little something like the sounds you here in a movie theater just before the previews when they are trying to show off their speaker quality – or perhaps like a spaceship landing. Either way, the band has arrived and they want your attention. This blends nicely into a high-energy drum sequence followed by the addition of electric guitar that opens the second track “Your Time To Shine”. I immediately think of bands with a sound like Linkin Park here. Sort of a poppy punk rock that would also like to try to grab those listeners that teeter on the edge of metal and perhaps screamo. The lead singer has a solid voice with a bit of a whine similar to the vocals from All American Rejects.

Simple, catchy melodies flow through the tunes that are filled to the brim with guitars, drums and layered harmonies. When “Your Time To Shine” begins, it’s easy to think that these guys have taken time to think through their arrangements and with the solid vocals and well-played music that they are on to something. But then after 5 tracks of nearly the same high-powered, electric guitar driven music with the same high-energy vocals that they all begin to blend together. Perhaps given more space these songs might stand out more on their own but instead just makes the listener a bit tired. The only standout moment is “The Heist” that delivers some unique style that helps to set it apart although still keeps the energy at the same high level.

After this blast to the ears “Cadence and Cascade” provides a rest with an instrumental wash of digital sounds which helps to provide a sense of calm as well as a sense of hope. But right about when relaxation begins to set in, you are then blasted again with same high energy as before. Instead of focusing on the song, it’s difficult not to just wonder if this is all the band is capable of. With solid vocals and musical ability, surely they can figure out how to break up this monotony, can’t they? But before I give up “We Are Your Own” helps to provide a glimmer of hope. The same electronic guitar heard through the album and now characteristic of the bands music holds a large role but the song rides along on an electronic base and the vocal melody changes enough that it helps to keep the listener going. This track really should’ve been the one to follow the intermission instrumental track.

Then “Life Like Movies” follows and this is exactly what I was hoping from Driver Side Impact. The high energy is still there but with drums breaks and vocal changes and moments where the guitars change instead of just holding the same pattern throughout. The vocals even rise and fall in a manner that is very pleasant and works well for the bands musical style. I could totally see this song finding it’s way into the high point of some teen moment and even features The album continues to rise towards the end, progressing towards album closer “The Artist” which brings everything together and wraps it up nicely.

As Driver Side Impact continues to find themselves with their latest lineup and finesse their sound, they do have the potential for providing good things for those looking for new music in this genre. But right now, with a record dangerously close to monotony, they will need to learn to mix things up and explore ways to change and enhance the elements that remain at the core of all of their tracks. With bands like Blink 182 or All American Rejects, they are successful at changing their sound in ways that have kept people listening. Driver Side Impact needs to find their own way of creating a more varied listening experience.