Driving by Bashful is one of my favourite releases of 2020 but yet I never got around to reviewing it until now. Released in February on Low Risk Records, it’s a ten tracks in twenty-one minutes pop punk gem of an album.
It begins with the song Boston Shitter. This will most likely be your first listen of Bashful (unless you picked up our Hidden Gems comp) and they showcase what they’re all about brilliantly here. It’s an uptempo track that’s packed with melody and lots of opportunities to sing along. Jake Guralnik’s vocals have plenty of passion behind them that really help you to invest in the song and the album early. Up next is Song, Too. It’s clear, after just two songs, that Bashful have a great knack for writing a catchy chorus and they’re not shy about getting there quickly. Musically the song doesn’t stray far from the standard pop punk formula but, when the song is so fun to sing along to, this really doesn’t matter. Lightheaded reminded me of The Ergs when I first listened to it. I love The Ergs so this pleased me no end. There’s a slight twang in Jake’s voice that really had me thinking of Mikey Erg. I believe the song is about being on a bad trip and not enjoying how it’s making you feel. (Please correct me if that’s wrong). This is the first time that gang vocals are used during the choruses and it’s a great addition.
The album’s title track, Driving, comes next. Slowing things down slightly, there’s an indie punk vibe about this song. If you know the London based band Great Cynics, think in that direction. The slower tempo allows for a bit more depth musically. Drummer Alex Wilhelm squeezes in some sweet fills throughout the track, really showing off his skill. This skill is also shown during the short introduction to Impossible. Bringing the tempo back up very quickly, this is Bashful at their very best. Buzzing guitars, rapid fire lyrics and yet another chorus that will glue itself in your mind. The track is about realising that you’ve not been a good person to be around and promising to do better in the future. The sixth song is titled Running. Slowing things back down, Running is a power-pop track that features some sweet harmonies. The song is about dealing with anger issues and just being fed up with always feeling angry at the world. Fun? was the track that appearing on our Hidden Gems compilation. Tonally this is a fun and breezy listen but when you dig into the lyrics it’s a sad song about not enjoying your current situation and wanting to be all by yourself.
Us is about trying to move forward with your life whilst attempting to block out and escape the past. This is a song that I’m sure many people will relate with. We’ve all got things that have happened in our past that continue to haunt us into our adulthood. This song about self-realisation feels more uplifting than some of the other tracks and is treated as such with the upbeat nature of the music. The penultimate song on Driving is named Overreact. Starting out with some “whoa-ohs”, it welcomes you in immediately and will get a live crowd involved from the outset. The song shifts tempo and melodies throughout, keeping it sounding fresh and showing another page of the Bashful trick book so late in the album. The album is finished with On My Way Out. The only song on Driving to go over three minutes, this really allowed Bashful time to let loose with some extra guitar solos and drum fills. The song looks at what it’s like to feel like you’re about to have a breakdown but trying keep things together as best you can. Something else I’m sure most of us have had to deal with at some point or another.
As I said in the introduction, Driving is just ten songs in twenty-one minutes but what a fantastic twenty-one minutes it is. It’s hard to make pop punk sound fresh and new in 2020 but Bashful have done a magnificent job of this. Definitely a band you need to be keeping an eye on.
Stream and download Driving on Bandcamp here.
Like Bashful on Facebook here.
This review was written by Colin Clark.