Buried Treasure: Drive Like Jehu – Yank Crime


Drive Like Jehu is violence.  Their music more like a punch in the nose than orchestrated chords and rhythm. The guitars shriek and twist like exposed rebar after a post-apocalyptic nuclear rain.  The drums and bass repeatedly drive their gnarled fists into your chest with savage brutality.  The vocals slash and scream across all the bedlam like a feral animal with an unquenchable thirst for blood.

In the annals of post-hardcore Drive Like Jehu have an almost divine status.  They’ve managed to influence everything from Tacoma based metal band Botch to Modest Mouse.

Yank Crime was released in 1994.  It wasn’t soon after the records release that Drive Like Jehu broke up. This sudden departure and the member’s post-Jehu projects helped gain the band an almost cult like status.  What D.C. had started with the post-hardcore movement Drive Like Jehu perfected.  The post-hardcore sound of D.C. would eventually grow and gain influence during it’s pre-internet crawl across America.  One of these places was Jehu’s home city of San Diego where bands started adopting what would be called the “San Diego Sound”.

Nestled within all the chaos of every track on Yank Crime there is always a hint of calculation. With Yank Crime there is a Point A and Point B, but the band is going to make sure you reach the end of your violent journey with a bloodied nose and two black eyes.  Jarring and discordant guitar riffs crunch their ways back and forth like two pugilists in a ring. Mark Trombino’s drums sound off like a gunfight in an abandoned Southwestern ghost town.  The bass drives it all home with pulsing and thrashing noise keeping the rhythm from tottering over the edge into oblivion.

I ran into Drive Like Jehu on accident.  A guy working the counter (who would later play bass for alcohol infused rock band Planes Mistaken for Stars) at my local record store recommended them when I told him I was getting tired of The Get Up Kids.  I was instantly hooked and would soon go on a campaign to ravage any band of their ilk.  Unfortunately for me Drive Like Jehu had already been broken up for two years at the time, but this only aided in my appreciation for what the band did for a lot of music in the Midwest where I was from.

Drive Like Jehu reunited for some reunion shows from 2014 to 2016.  They’ve got on in age but haven’t lost a step.  They still fucking slay and haven’t lost any of the energy that made them such an important band.

The band only has two releases and usually I would wail at the injustice that such an important band has so little material.  That being said, both of their records are so indelibly important to so many bands you may listen to today that any more releases than the two they have would almost be too much.

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