Review: Drive By Wire ‘Time Horizon’

If ever there was a band deserving of exposure, it’s The Netherlands Drive By Wire. Criminally overlooked, the four-piece have been busy making a name for themselves and on their own terms since 2006. Starting as a three-piece, created by husband-and-wife Alwin Wubben and Simone Holsbeek, they are now ready to release album number five and the aim is global domination.

Drive By Wire 'Time Horizon' Artwork
Drive By Wire ‘Time Horizon’ Artwork

Having played alongside the likes of Kyuss Lives!, Blues Pills and many more, they have made a name for themselves somewhat, and have this time worked with Peter Van Elderen of Peter Pan Speedrock, to create an opus so epically good, that it has to be witnessed to be believed.

On a personal level, I have known the band for an incredibly long time, first hearing of them way back when only the self-titled album was available, and over time I have seen them adapt and adjust, without sacrificing their trademark sound at all. There have been various changes, but the common goal was always the sound, and now, with Time Horizon the band are truly the unit they were always destined to be.

That’s the thing with the new album, it takes everything that’s evolved to this point to perfectly display just what a tremendous band they really are. The tunes are the perfect example of just where they are in 2024, each one is an epically cool slice of desert rock infused stoner goodness.

To put into context, for all of the years of hard work, sacrifice and total commitment, even at its hardest, Drive By Wire is the very embodiment of the rock and roll dream. The proof that all their dedication has paid off, and that for every low-key show, support slot, and the miles and miles travelling to reach this point, that right here, right now, is what every bands dream is all for.

Time Horizon truly incapsulates Drive By Wire at their most vibrant, their most creative, and their most dynamic. You can feel that the band are more than four entities, they are finally working like one, well-tuned unit, a family for lack of a better example. This album, quite simply, is the true pinnacle of the band, everything has led to this point.

Across the eight tracks, as well as new bangers, there are reworkings of old tracks, a riveting cover version to close proceedings while embracing new ideas and turning them into fully formed works.

The beauty for me, as a long-time fan and friend, is all these things are instantly familiar and remind me of my Dutch family so much. Drive By Wire IS Drive By Wire, they are so recognisable by their sound they aren’t confused with anyone else. Yes, there are bands within the same ballpark, but they are different, in sound and vibe. Drive By Wire, are unlike anyone else, and comparing to anyone else would be a waste of time.

Wonderful, warm, and enriching, this is Drive By Wire 2024…

Northern Lights, the album opener, catches the band doing what they do best. The mix of fuzzy bass, courtesy of long-time member Marcel Zerb, truly a master of his instrument along with heavy and intoxicating drums, from the powerhouse that is Ingmar Regeling, provides the backdrop for which Alwin’s soaring distorted guitars are so perfectly suited. Simone’s sublime sultry vocal is instantly recognisable, as the enigmatic front woman entices us in for the ride.

Slowrider, for those in the know, is a reworking and expanded version of Low Rider from their 2008 album Between Oceans. It’s instantly recognisable if you know the track, Alwin’s chunky guitar riffage is as vibrant as it was, and the inclusion of vocals elevate it from its instrumental beginnings and showcase just how adaptable they are. They’re happy to go back to old ideas, revolutionise them and bring them back for 2024, so although familiar, they’re also very different at the time.

With Shape Shifting, the band take us off on one of their trippy summery tangents. There is a more psychedelic vibe with this one. Again, instantly recognisable, but also a revelation. The initial cooler tone breaks into a heavier fuzzy beast. It’s both eclectic and electric. It’s a classy display, full of dark emotion. Each element has an opportunity to shine, and as they do, it’s both lavish and intoxicating. The same is true of Elements, where this new vibrancy shines through.

Dust Fader is a pummelling, driving, and punishing track. The sheer pace that can be felt as it plays through is ridiculous. The mix of guitar and bass, driving the piece, over the thunderous drumming is insane. Simone’s venomous vocal compacts the whole event completely.

This leads on to the two tracks which absolutely revolutionise the band, and hearing these makes my heart melt. Black Sails and the title track Time Horizon are the testament to Drive By Wire in 2024, and both are completely spellbinding. As long as I’ve known the band, I’ve never heard them play in such an organically versatile way as I have on these two offerings.

One, a cool summery jaunt, perfect for driving on a summer’s day, windows down, enjoying the warmth. The other, a trippy nudge towards an otherworldly void, perfect for zoning out completely, and being taken away into the abyss. Sublime and beautiful, both are equally monumental, and showcase the bands’ ability to evolve, reconfigure, and take on new concepts, which fly far beyond anything that’s come before.

All that’s left after this is a cover version to close proceedings, it’s a leftfield choice but works incredibly well. For those willing to source it out, you won’t be disappointed at all.

Coming away from it all, I wanted this review to be more than a fanboy worship session, or a helping hand to family friends, but the simple truth is that this album is just so good, it doesn’t matter what I say, if you are willing to open your mind and embrace something fantastical, then this is where to come. Wonderful, warm, and enriching, this is Drive By Wire 2024, everything has led to this, and it’s time for the band to shine…

Label: Argonauta Records
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: Lee Beamish