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Sunday Drivers – Archetypes (EP)

Self-released, 10/5/07

If you take Brandon Flowers from The Killers, pump him full of horse tranquilizers, and add the instrumental sound of The Cure -- voila! You have Sunday Drivers. Well, maybe that’s a little too harsh. Endlessly compared to both The Killers and Interpol, Sunday Drivers are next in a line of New Wave bands that continue to flood the airwaves.

With tight, snare driven drums, a relentless beat, and airy synth strings a constant in the background, Sunday Drivers have a clean, radio-ready sound. You could even take a Sunday drive while listening to it, as their name begs you to do, and enjoy the experience. But the question has to be asked: do we really need another New Wave band when The Killers, Interpol, and countless others seem to be holding up the genre pretty well?

What’s lacking in Archetypes that can be found elsewhere is the energy inherent in the 80s that other New Wave bands seemed to have captured. I want driving dance beats and ridiculous synth pop. And Sunday Drivers does not provide. The opening track, “Sweetest Disguise", is a nice number with the cute line “All the little lights will shine… all the kids stand in line,” which sweetly lingers in memory after the song is over. The instruments are tight and sound fuller than seems possible with only three band members, but somehow, something feels off.

The problem seems to be Erickson’s vocals, which sound slightly drowsy (hence the horse tranquilizer reference above). Without the energy and charisma of a singer like Brandon Flowers, the songs start to lag, lacking the danceable pop energy that they seem to be begging for.

While all four tracks are solid and unobjectionable, with the first two -- “Sweetest Disguise" and “Arms” -- being the strongest, they’re not very memorable either. With only four tracks to sample, I want an EP to run the gamut of what a band has to offer. All four tracks sound sadly similar, all lacking a strong enough melody, or catchy enough vocals, to make them memorable. There is nothing inherently bad in any one track, but neither is there anything that makes me want to get up out of my chair.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars