The guys behind the novel stickwork are Grady Don and producer Matt Pence, the latter the drummer for Dentonite darlings Centro-matic. To say that Don is the next coming of Pence would be gross overstatement, but the Sunday Drive beat-maker has miles of potential.
As for the music, it hovers around the edges of pop — not too inaccessible, not too formulaic. The theme is the comings and goings of lovers. On “Love Machine,” over an uptempo, Spanish-inflected rhythm, frontman Ryan Thomas Becker proclaims that “Time will feed this freeway to love / Morning has come, and we’ve made up the years.” Balancing his joy is “Long Gone”: “I never found that place you mentioned / But I heard the stories and learned the lessons / Sometimes, I wish that you were still around / But that would probably just bring me down.”
Guitarist Jeffrey Gruber is a dynamic player. He complements the proceedings as often as he commandeers them. Bassist Clinton Hoyler holds everything together, even through the dozens of stops and starts — his playing’s simple yet occasionally creative enough to stand out. As on “Fighting Living Lies,” a good portion of needle/eye could have benefited from a stronger bottom — and a clearer direction.
Sat w/Eaton Lake Tonics at Black Dog Tavern, 2933 Crockett St, FW. 817-332-8190.