You’re walking down an unknown street on a hot, humid night. You see the distant neon sign of a bar radiate in the stance. As you walk closer you hear the energetic rhythm of music coming from behind the doors of this mysterious saloon. You open the door and enter. The room is packed with local clientele who are all fixed on the band in the corner. That band is The Dodge Brothers – and Drive Train will give you that sensory experience.
A tight four-piece band, The Dodge Brothers are a skiffle band who aim to play new songs in an old-style. Comprising of Mike Hammond (guitars, lead vocals, banjo); Aly Hirji (guitars, mandolin, vocals); Mark Kermode (bass, harmonica, vocals), and Alex Hammond (washboard, snare drum, percussion), Drive Train offers-up modern day folked-up rockabilly which sounds fresh, yet eerily familiar.
Opening salvo, Oh California brings echoes of some of Elvis Presley’s finest cuts, playing like a mash-up of Mystery Train and Viva Las Vegas but The Dodge Brothers are much more than pastiche – they have a valid musical voice with whip-smart lyrics. The music on display here sounds spontaneous but it’s crafted with precision. This is a band which knows what it wants and how it needs to deliver it. They’re not just about the toe-tappers though, Waiting For Angels is a wonderfully sullen trucker’s lament which would echo beautifully through a saw-dust floored bar at 3am.
Embracing the musical and lyrical tropes of Americana, there’s no train or car which The Dodge Brothers won’t ride. Love, booze, death and redemption fly past like the wide-open vistas of the Mississippi Delta through the window of a classic car.
Like a juke box filled with old 45s, Drive Train hits all the rights notes and delivers bourbon soaked rhythm and blues from a group that obviously truly loves the music. Each of the 15 cuts delivers on the promise of toe-tapping music and the anthemic final track, When I’m Gone, will keep you going back for more.