New Jersey’s Drive By have toured with so many bands in the years since they initially formed in 2003, it’s nearly unbelievable. My Chemical Romance, Saves the Day, Senses Fail, Paramore, Every Time I Die, Boys Like Girls and Circa Survive are just a few from the long list of groups they’ve shared a stage with since the release of I Hate Every Day Without You Kid…, the first release on Riot Squad Records, over two years ago.
When the band sat down to begin penning their follow-up in March of 2007 massive amounts of practice and skill acquired on the road were revealed. The four-piece spent six months writing and demoing in the New Jersey studio they’d used to record their debut, laying each song down twice- once acoustic and once with a full band- to fully realize their intentions. “We just wanted the record to be more mature singer/guitarist Todd Price says of the band’s goals during the writing process. “We wanted it to be more revealing. When we did our first record we had only been writing songs together for six months or so. You tour and play shows on your last album but playing them isn’t really the same as listening to them so before we started writing songs we sat down and listened to that record a few times in a row. When we started writing we thought that we needed to be ‘more real, more passionate, more personal.’”
In August, Drive By took the 40-something tracks they’d begun crafting to an unassuming studio in Ft. Collins, CO called The Blasting Room to record with legendary producer Bill Stevenson (Rise Against, The Lemonheads). The band spent a month working 14-plus-hour days on the 15 songs they’d pulled from the original batch. “Doing the first record ourselves was nice but also a little bit limiting,” Price says of the decision to enter the studio with Stevenson. “We wanted our album to be bigger and wanted help this time. We needed someone’s input we trusted, like Bill, who’s been doing records that we love for 20 years, and to know what he thought and how we could make it better. We wanted his fingerprints on this record.”
Stevenson did just that, elevating the group’s rock songs into a solidly engaging album, entitled A Delicate Situation of 13 diverse songs with the help of everyone at the studio, who Price says “really took the record under his wing. He just helped us make it better,” Price says. “He would hear beats and melodies and say ‘What if we did it like this?’ and a half an hour later the song was better for it.” The record, the title of which remarks upon the precarious edge everyone walks upon every day, reveals a matured, practiced version of Drive By. The urgent “Please Please,” which Price describes as a cry for help representative of the band’s mindset while making the record, layers propulsive guitars, sharp melodies and a gripping emotive quality that easily translates to the listener. “Boring” is the quintessential relationship song, alternating between moments of passionate aggression and hushed anger-covers-hurt while “Where Did I Go (Part of the Team)” descends further into quiet, soaring guitars and aching vocals offering a compelling sense of relatable emotion. The album, which is notable in its tight cohesion and remarkable attention to detail, brings the influence of all those weeks of touring to light, reminding the listener that, for any band, putting your talent to practice on a daily basis is what makes your music truly great.
Just imagine what two more years of touring on this album will do.