(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Senior Writer/Journalist, RiffRelevant.com)
In the twelve years or so that Drive By Wire has been active, they have consistently released magnanimous records. Yet, as good as those have been, I dare say the band has arrived with “Spellbound“. Walking fine lines between retro-vibes of classic rock (ala Jefferson Airplane) and areas of alternative, grunge, and psyche rock, this is one effective record.
Drive By Wire – Simone Holsbeek (vocals), Alwin Wubben (guitar), Jerome Miedendorp de Bie (drums), and Marcel Zerb (bass) – conjure some supernatural mojo from the very start of “Spellbound“. That spell is cast with the incredible intro song, “Glider“, an airy beginning soon explodes into a bombardment of heavy guitars and crashing drums. Simone’s vocals on the number are both sultry and soaring, while I’m pretty sure that if I didn’t know better, I’d think this cut came direct from the Seventies.
Things stay on the good side of incredible with numbers like “Where Have You Been“, the bluesy stomp of “Blood Red Moon“, and the explosive “The Devil’s Fool“. Then there are the over-the-top instant classics like “Mammoth“, a high energy, fast-driven, and forward moving rocker.
As for the psychedelic side of things, the hallucinatory undercurrents of “Apollo” are powerful. A slow-writhing song with a sedate, molasses-like presence about it, one of the best songs The Doors never wrote.
“Van Plan” also has a psyche-rock feel to it, although it’s a bit broken up by the energized choruses. Simone casts an enthralling vocal spell as the heady, jammy nature of the verses pull us right along for the ride.
Then there’s the high point of ethereal, otherworldly content, the album-closing title track, “Spellbound“. A real mind-opening composition, raw, liberating and empowering to ones’ imagination, the possibilities are endless.
Drive By Wire capture the very essence of audio enchantment within every moment of “Spellbound“, a moving, transformative record. Subject yourself to its magic via the Bandcamp embed streaming above or purchase the album at the links below.