Timelost are Drained, and so am I – luckily their music provides an upbeat, grungy path through it all.

Release date: February 23, 2024 | Church Road Records | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Bandcamp

A few years ago, Timelost slid across our EIN desks and damn, what a trip that was. I’m susceptible to stanning the shit out of some grungy, punky, infectious rock stuff and, mixed with some gazy elements as well, EP Gushing Interest and their debut album Don’t Remember Me for This, which we helped premiere, were just that. I wrote both of those linked articles so to say I was excited for Drained is a bit of an understatement.

And you know what? As I write this, I still don’t quite know what to think. I’m forcing myself to write this on the spot in an effort to collect and articulate what I think because it’s a bit complicated – it’ll be like livestreaming an album review, kind of. There’s a lot on Drained that’s analogous to their older work, which is a comfort, but there’s also something irreversibly changed in how the band incorporates their washed-out tones and mood. I can’t even say it’s growth per se, just a change, perhaps a yielding to life’s greater pressures while still wresting a positive outlook from jaws of defeat.

At least that’s the vibe I get from Timelost‘s music. “Combustion Dance” is profoundly upbeat like many songs on Drained, but the vocal delivery, while not particularly downtrodden or depressed, still feels marked with exhaustion and post-stress recovery. It’s relatable – it’s like my internal voice after a long week of being blindsided by life’s promised inconsistencies and being expected to carry on like nothing’s wrong. Yeah, I’ll be fine, just let me fucking process this shit a bit PLEASE.

“Diet Strangers” is similar, but a bit more prescriptive and therefore even more relatable. Riding these lush bass and guitar passages at the end is a refrain of ‘the world is fucked with people like you around‘. What starts as a slow, hollowed instrumental section ends with a more serene acceptance like we gaslit ourselves into thinking things aren’t as bad as they are so we can just function, but the repeating of that one line doesn’t let the motherfuckers in question fully off the hook either. Lead single “Eternal Vibe” is a radio-ready hit if I ever heard one. Riding a more pop-punkish track than other songs, it has bold riffs and simple transitions to and from its chorus, and like a lot of other songs on the radio it’s deceptively dark lyrically:

Voices through an empty cave
Rattling in my face and straight to waste
There’s a feelin’ I can’t shake
Maybe you’ll finally see it at my wake
And you’ll see me wave

I love the powerful emphasis on the words ‘shake‘ and ‘wave‘ like guitarist/vocalist Shane Handal tries to catch his intrusive thoughts off guard and send them flying out of his ears with a violent jolt.

You’re probably wondering where the complication comes in and it’s in the apparent absence of those more shoegazy affectations that were in their last two projects. Drained is a bit more straightforward for Timelost, yes – they retained their overall mood and approach to modern grunge rock, but really tone down the extremity of hazy, floating instrumentation and atmosphere that made me fall in love with them in the first place. The band that keeps coming to mind is Turnstile which is an unfair, borderline inaccurate comparison to make with Timelost and Drained since this band nor their album go for the same things they do, but I can’t help but think of songs like “Generator“, or at least its latter half, and “MYSTERY“, but when the more punk-forward drums of “Everything’s A Beating (Including Yourself)” kick in or the distorted guitar lead of “Another Casualty of Me” sears the intro like a cauterized wound, they can’t outrun that similarity. To be clear, this is a mostly positive comparison I’m trying to make here – I love Turnstile too.

What the changes do give Drained is a more grounded feeling, like you can’t escape the malaise by drifting above it like it’s a cloud of thick fog skating across the concrete. Drained makes you walk through it, contend with it, not providing an easy way around it. Maybe that was by design, marking this album with more of a forced maturity that we’re all faced with eventually and in doing so a sense of community that you’re not alone. But man… sometimes that escapism is real good, not indicative of you wanting to avoid your issues, just giving you a moment of head-above-water breathing before you submerge yourself again and address what you have to below the surface.

Timelost‘s return has given a lot of food for thought. As the sun breaks through on the last minute of album closer “Permablue”, you feel invigorated, like you’re equipped to try to handle the day again, and the next day, and the next. If there’s only one thing Drained did for me (and there’s many), it showed me the value of addressing the reality of your situation, whatever it may be, and then defy it. Like the man chilling in the loungey lawn chair on the album cover engulfed in fire like the famous, generation-defining this is fine‘ dog, we are all ablaze with stress. We can’t let that burn our humanity down. In fact, maybe we can hold certain things – our doubts, our inconsistencies, our fear – to the fire instead and turn them to ash instead. As “Permablue” says, ‘tear the page out of my head, burn the whole damn book‘.

David Rodriguez

David Rodriguez

"I came up and so could you, and fuck the boys in blue" - RMR

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