For their first studio release since 2009, Georgia rock band Drivin' n' Cryin' offer a new EP, Songs from the Laundromat. The group plans to release four EPs over the course of the year. Each one is to represent one facet of Drivin' n' Cryin's sound. The five songs on this one represent rock. Future releases will cover punk, country, and a genre TBA.
The thing I like best about Drivin' n' Cryin' is that for over two decades, the group has maintained a distinct and recognizable sound. Kevin Kinney's voice still rings strong and clear, yet slightly ragged, and resounds with sincerity. The music is not over-produced and maintains an authentic, homegrown sound that is one of the major assets of much Southern rock and roots music. Even the title of the EP evokes a down-to-earth, honest vibe, as does the cover and label art.
The first two songs on the EP, "Dirty" and "Ain't Waitin' on Tomorrow" are straight-ahead rockers which will remind you of "Fly Me Courageous" and "Straight to Hell." "Clean Up" is the obligatory broken relationship song with some tasty guitar work. "Baloney" is only 32 seconds long, a quick hard blast of rock that's there and gone.
"REM" may be my favorite track on the EP, as it pays tribute to another beloved Georgia band, R.E.M., who broke up last year after 30 years together, referencing titles and bits of lyrics from that legendary group.
This EP format is very fitting for Drivin' n' Cryin', letting the band deliver its songs with an immediacy that might be lost over a longer recording. If the other three EPs are as excellent as Songs from the Laundromat, it may be just the right format for modern listeners.
Drivin' n' Cryin' proves once again that even though it may not record often, it's not because the group isn't capable of delivering whenever it wants to. Longtime fans and new listeners alike will not be disappointed, and will find themselves waiting expectantly for the next EP in the series.