Derek Grant “Breakdown”
The name Derek Grant may not be one you instantly recognise, that’s unless you’re an Alkaline Trio fan. Derek is actually the drummer from that band but as “Breakdown” demonstrates, he is also a talented multi-instrumentalist and singer. This album was written against his own issues of substance abuse and divorce, hence the title. Do not fear, however, it’s not an album wallowing in self-pity.
Opening song, “Holiday Breakdown” is a perky little acoustic pop ditty which has a far more summery feel than its title may suggest, hence the “futures bright, but not today” line. There is a fuller, more polished sound to “Waiting For The End Of The World” which has an almost, laid back, Gaslight Anthem feel to it. Whilst “Love Is A Bad Dream” is similar but with more of a sixties feel to it.
Initially, “Got A Feeling” comes as a bit of a shock as it has a far more adult pop /commercial feel to it. You could honestly see this troubling the top of the pop charts, that’s not a bad thing.. It’s a quality song. Equally “Lucy” has an instant attraction to it, although we see a bit more of Derek’s punk roots showing, all be it delivered with an acoustic guitar riff.
Presumably, many of the lyrics are a reflection on Derek’s own life and troubles. That would certainly appear to be true of “Good Long Look” which suggests a man who has decided to seriously think about the direction his life is going in. The album comes to a premature end with “You Don’t Know” which again is a reflective song, but hidden within an almost country, upbeat tune.
There was a time when the mention of a solo album by a drummer would make any music fan shudder. Although maybe Dave Grohl has changed that for good and we can forget about Phil Collins!! It is questionable how Alkaline Trio fans will take to the album as it is some distance from their material. Hopefully, however, they will welcome it as a sign of growth by Derek. This is really a first rate collection of songs. Whilst it is firmly in singer/songwriter style, there is an added pop element which really lifts the songs, despite the introspective lyrical content. It certainly has the potential to appeal to a far wider audience than his main band. Whatever, the commercial success, lets certainly hope this is the first of many releases from Derek.