Dead End Drive In makes music for people who smoke three cigarettes at the same time and can punch through a pane of glass without being phased. With the release of their first full-length album Mea Culpa, the Vancouver-based band has showcased their uncanny ability to make you reminisce about rowdy times that you never even had. Through concrete lyrics and vocals that are both wailing and gritty at the same time, Mea Culpa makes you nostalgic for back alley fist fights and sleeping in until dinner time. While there is a sense of whimsical grunge presented, this is no doubt overpowered by the sheer amount of realness and relatableness presented on the ten tracks.
To start at the end, Mea Culpa saves the most hard hitting tracks for last. For one, the very last word of the whole entire album is the band yelling the word “chameleon," the perfect ending to any album. Every album in the world should end that way. Every album needs more reptiles, metaphorical or not. Take notes, Hollywood.
Meanwhile, "Tomorrow’s Idiot" could be interpreted as a pick me up song for the cynical, specifically those who know that they won’t be any smarter tomorrow and are ok with that. One hint of its uplifting nature can be summed up by the lyrics, “Young angry and bitter/ but that piss and vinegar/ is going to sweeten.” Lacking in lizard-related words, but still good.
The second to last track "Bus" will teleport listeners to a disgustingly familiar and vaguely piss-scented scene: public transit. It evokes the sinking gut feeling of running in to people from high school who have excelled in the rat race. This is, of course, followed by wishing you could spontaneously combust before they notice you and bombard you with the classic catch-up questions and/or ignorant comments. If they talk to you, you make yourself vulnerable to judgement. If they don't notice you, you fantasize about how the conversation could've gone down, playing the fake conversation over and over again in your head. It turns a lose/lose situation in to a hard-hitting punk riot.
Dead End Drive-In play like a life-long band of lost boys who have perfected the art of thriving in the gutter and finding constellations in their blackouts. With a raucous sound that suggests they’re balls deep in veteran experience rather than just five years, there's no dead end in sight for the guys of Dead End Drive-In. The energy of Mea Culpa proves that.