The music comes at you fast and furious. Right out of the gate, the debut EP from Philadelphia’s Courier Club sounds like it was blasted in from a London punk club circa 1980, as “We All Want to Be There” combines frenetic bass/drums interplay, searing guitars and understated keyboard lines. The song, inspired by the band’s gleeful, manic experiences at a hometown rave, has energy to burn and brings to mind a packed, pogo-ing dancefloor. On Drive Like Your Kids Live Here, Courier Club are adept and paying tribute to their playlists while forging a style all their own.
“Third Heart” ups the ante, with the same energy as its predecessor but with more of an emphasis on a simple guitar/bass/drums dynamic. Keyboards are stripped away – except for some low-end industrial squalls – and walls of guitar give the song a cathartic post-hardcore aesthetic. But a deeper dive into Drive Like Your Kids Live Here, which was written and recorded in the summer and fall of 2019, uncovers more sophisticated elements. The amped-up Britpop of “Soundscape 1992” is a more layered, laid-back track that features plenty of early ’90s elements, including guitarist Ryan Conway’s chiming, Johnny Marr-inspired work.
The driving, insistent beat of “It Takes Time” is well-complimented by a retro keyboard riff and Timothy Waldron’s Bowie-style crooning (the song was conjured up after a day of binging Scary Monsters). It’s the most layered, sophisticated track on the EP, combining post-punk energy with dark lyrics that touch on depression and ways to combat it. Almost as if to prove their ability to be musically eclectic, Drive Like Your Kids Live Here ends with the gentle ballad “My Favorite Game”. Framed by acoustic guitar and piano, the tale of a relationship burning out manages to sound emotionally resonant but never dives into clichés.
Drive Like Your Kids Live Here can, at times, sound like a band putting out a resume of the full scope of their work. It includes the fast stuff, the funky stuff, the heartbreaking stuff, and everything in between. There’s something for everyone here, and it bodes well for a full-length album if one is in the works.