As a compendium, it keeps its consistency, resulting in an album that makes for not only a superb comeback of sorts but also one of the best sets of songs since Drivin N Cryin’s earliest outlays.
While some tend to identify Drivin N Cryin strictly by their Southern environs, the Atlanta-based band is far too diverse to be classified within such strict confines. Over the course of the past 30 years they’ve gained a notable reputation due in large part to a ferocious and somewhat eclectic sound, driven to a great degree by leader Kevn Kinney’s penchant for altering the template according to his own whims and resolve. Their early commercial success, spurred by major label associations with Island Records initially and later Geffen, helped jumpstart their career and prolong their popular appeal well into the ‘90s.
For whatever reason, the band ultimately decided to change course as the decade wound down, backing off their straight-ahead rock regimen and becoming less reliable as far as their radio-ready sound was concerned. When Kinney opted to go the solo route, the band’s output faltered altogether, resulting in a break of nearly a dozen years.
When they did regroup in 2000, it was at best a half-hearted return, one marked by a series of EPs that were initiated in 2012 and wrapped about themes that were generally genre-specific. The series began with Songs from the Laundromat, which was then followed on an ongoing basis by Songs About Cars, Space and The Ramones, Songs From The Psychedelic Time Clock, and finally Songs From the Turntable. With nearly three dozen songs between them, the time seemed ripe for a compilation, but instead of assembling a lengthy anthology -- a move which would certainly seem justified at this juncture -- the band opted instead to release a vinyl album that culled the ten best tracks from those various recordings and assemble them under the somewhat ubiquitous title Best of Songs. With a cover sleeve that resembles a worn out K-Tel collection of pop radio chartbusters (complete with the worn faded look that afflicts many an album of classic vintage), it plays well both literally and figuratively all at the same time.
As a compendium, Best of Songs keeps its consistency, resulting in an album that makes for not only a superb comeback of sorts but also one of the best sets of songs since Drivin N Cryin’s earliest outlays. For the most part it emphasizes the band’s rockier regimen, with songs such as “Hot Wheels”, “Out Here in the Middle Of Nowhere” “Turn”, “Dirty” “The Little Record Store Around the Corner” and “Space Eyes” bearing the brunt of the rhythmic thrust. Nevertheless, it’s tracks like “Roll Away the Song” and “R.E.M.”, a heartfelt homage to their fellow Georgia homeboys that give the set its most lasting impressions. All in all, that’s not bad tune in the bunch, proof positive that Drivin N Dryin still have plenty of open road left before them.