EP Review: Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ — Songs from the Psychedelic Time Clock
In terms of delivering new music, Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ is employing a strategy not unlike that of Marshall Crenshaw. Instead of releasing an album after a couple years’ wait, both acts are meting out new music in smaller, EP-sized bites. From a marketing (or fan relations) standpoint, this is a solid approach; it keeps the artists in the collective consciousness.
The EP format also seems to free the artists to explore some directions they might not pursue on albums. Drivin’ n’ Cryin has just released the third of four planned EPs in this series. (I reviewed their first, Songs From the Laundromat, in September 2012.) Now, Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ has always been a stylistically eclectic band, mining everything from bluegrass to metal to folk in the creation of their songs. And while the first two EPs in this series (the also-excellent second disc is titled Songs About Cars, Space, and The Ramones) headed off in all sorts of directions, their latest has a more thematically unified approach.
The EP’s title provides your first clue: if Songs From the Psychedelic Time Clock reminds you of XTC alter ego Dukes of Stratosphear‘s 25 O’Clock EP and the compilation Chips From the Chocolate Fireball, well, the similarity is probably intentional. Time clock is six songs delivered in various garage-psych styles, and it’s an effective set.
Listeners can play spot-the-influence or they can simply enjoy the tunes for what they are rather than what they sort of try to be. Conceptually reminiscent of fellow Atlantans The Coolies‘ Rock-opera-with comic-book Doug (except without the rock-opera trappings), Songs From the Psychedelic Time Clock serves up songs that are each reminiscent of a particular legendary band of old. “The Little Record Store Just Around the Corner” features that loopy blown-jug effect unique (or unique until now) to the 13thFloor Elevators. “Metamorphcycle” feels like the Electric Prunes. And “Sometimes the Rain (Is Just the Rain)” is reminiscent of both The Youngbloods‘ reading of “Get Together” and the bridge of The Moody Blues‘ “Legend of a Mind.”
It’s all a lot of fun, and the songs would fit nicely on the Nuggets compilation, not suffering a bit for any comparison. Leader Kevn Kinney is keeping the theme of the fourth (and final?) EP a secret for now, but if these first three are any indication, it promises to be another winner.
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About the Author
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he is co-teaching a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: 40 Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.