Econoline Crush - When The Devil Drives album art

Econoline Crush – When The Devil Drives (Album Review)

Econoline Crush 2023 band photo

During the early ‘90s era there was an exciting new crop of talented bands emerging from all over the world. A time after the ‘80s Glam Metal scene when many of acts signed by labels in the later part of the decade became derivatives of the ones that came before, the Grunge era soon arrived with a massive impact in-hand. A time which produced bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, among others, out of Canada came a band by the name of Econoline Crush.

A unique act, more along the lines of Industrial Rock, they certainly fit under the broad umbrella that was ‘90s Alternative Rock. Forming in 1992, the band was signed by EMI, released their debut album Affliction in 1995, however, it was 1998’s The Devil You Know which would truly put them on the map. An album featuring great songwriting, catchy melodies, and a distinctive guitar sound, it was tracks like “Sparkle and Shine” that really turned many heads.

From here, the band would release their final record with EMI in 2001, Brand New History. Charting well within Canada, the album was the next step forward for Econoline Crush, although a hiatus arrived with the core of the band going onto other projects. All hope was not lost though, because the band reformed around 2006, released the album Ignite in 2008, followed by an EP 2011. Seeming like things were going in the right direction, truth be told in the years to follow, there was over a decade of time with no new music from Econoline Crush.

So, what gives? Well, like many others, the band, but all roads have led back to Econoline Crush… because here we are in 2023 amidst their full-fledged return. A return that was prompted to take place nearly three years earlier, when the band released a reworking of “Get Out of the Way” from Ignite, as well as new single “Fight Like the Devil,” it was also announced that they signed on with indie Vancouver-based label AMALIEN Records. Exciting, unfortunately nothing else materialized from here. Then making things even more difficult, in 2022 suddenly and very tragically long-time Guitarist David “Ziggy” Sigmund passed away. Unwilling to give up, original Lead Singer Trevor Hurst, with a heavy heart, carried on. Taking his pain with him, in early 2023 he and Econoline Crush released the amply titled single “No Quitter.” A lively track, next came the energetic, inspiring “Invincible,” followed by the more mellow, yet equally as compelling “Locked In Your Stone.” With three singles out, the word was spreading and at last on October 13th Econoline Crush’s long overdue album When The Devil Drives arrived.

Their first full-length album in 15 years, it is complete with 9 new tracks. Including the aforementioned singles, not included are the 2 tracks put out back in 2020; both which are one-off singles. Ready to go, Hurst combined forces with a lineup consisting of Dayvid Swart on drums, Troy Zak on bass, and Dan Garrison on guitar. Leaving Hurst as the sole original member in the band, what this newest cast of players brings is an album that very much sounds and feels like Econoline Crush; which is a unique mix of Pop, Alternative Rock, and Industrial elements.

Complete with classic fuzzy guitars, well-written compositions, and tons of energy, When The Devil Drives is an epic return to put it lightly. It has the feel and emotion of the band’s brightest moments, but also other new elements that show progression. With a whole lot packed into just over a half hour of music, standouts include the three singles already discussed, but also the more Pop “Stars Don’t Shine,” more synthesizer driven “Only,” and Grunge-like “Going Under.”

In all, the album offers a lot, but the biggest take away from it is the eternal optimism within Hurst’s lyrics. Here is a guy who had his taste of success, has lived an extraordinarily interesting life, plus overcoming his own personal demons. Yet still, he moves forward and follows his dreams. By the way, in case you are curious to learn more about Hurst’s journey, it is recommended to find a way to view the documentary film entitled Flatlander. Everything considered, the return of Econoline Crush seems nearly improbable, but Hurst’s determination proves nothing is impossible. A great surprise in 2023, Cryptic Rock gives When the Devil Drives 4.5 out of 5 stars. 

Econoline Crush - When The Devil Drives album cover
Econoline Crush – When The Devil Drives (2023)

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