Time Spent Driving – ‘Passed & Presence’ Review

Posted: by Sean Gonzalez

This is a band people either remember with nothing but positive grace or one that people have never heard of at all. For the younger music fans of the “emo revival scene,” Time Spent Driving is probably not on your playlist. Rewind time to 2002, the pop-punk bred emo with near whiny voices was the new hit (I am looking at you Taking Back Sunday). Just Enough Bright, the debut LP of Time Spent Driving was released. This was the last full LP fans would ever see from the band. Fast forward to the current day and now there is a new record being released on July 21st via Cardigan Records. Passed & Presence fits in more with today’s bands than anyone ever imagined.

Calculated sound aesthetics, melodramatic lyrics and progressive builds make up a majority of the songs on Passed & Presence. Five songs on this record stretch over the five minute mark, making sure to use as much time as possible to naturally let the song gravitate to an epic ending. The only issue this brings is how do the filler songs hold their own weight? ‘Hey, You Dropped Something’ is the one song that stands out the most with it’s to the point attitude and bouncy feel. It is just as moody as the other songs, but the length of the tune was a warm welcome, ending in a reflective, arpeggiated piano line. 

What about the lengthy tracks though, how do they hold up in keeping listeners interested? Opener ‘Through The Cage’ features guitars that weave around vocal melodies that grow with rasp and poignancy with the line “it keeps softer now, till I can’t make it out.” The line is beaten into your head for three and a half minutes as the band expands their sound to bombastic drum lines before embracing their more tame side as the song closes. ‘Applelike’ is the standout track, with guitars wading through the headphones by winding around two chord shapes. The bass line throbs like a heartbeat. The vocals are delivered in a half whispered rasp, like something Trent Reznor would produce. The body of the song is a post-punk beat down with an emotive guitar lead laced on top of the stop and go chord progression. ‘Blame The Valley’ is the most heartfelt track on the record, with an expansive and urgent vocal delivery waiting to surprise listeners towards the closing minutes. 

Passed & Presence is a record that takes repeated listens to get used too. At nine songs covering 47 minutes, the first few listens can seem to trudge along slowly. It’s all delicately measured however, with Time Spent Driving caressing their melodies and letting their songs reach a tangible climax each time. The band members play together well, forming a tight-knit operation that takes emotional songs to a reflective and cooperative space. 

Score: 7.25/10

Pick Up The Album Right Here! http://www.cardiganrecords.com/