Adult Mom's third studio album, 'Driver' delivers a thematically complex and emotionally intelligent collection of songs, neatly tied up with recurring themes and quietly important motifs. Existing as it does in the liminal space between Stevie Knipe's solo project, and their collaboration with friends Olivia Battell and Allegra Eidinger, the project's innate refusal to be categorised anticipates its fluctuating sound, dancing between bluesy indie music, Americana country heartache, and the simulated buzz of synths and drums. The album deals in thoughtful images of driver/passenger dynamics, exploring the way this functions in relationships with others as well as yourself. It provides a reflective and provoking emotional transformation across the album, charting their anagnorisis and slow-build of confidence to step into the driver's seat and take charge of their own life.
Opening track 'Passenger' establishes the sensitivity and ambition that will set the tone for the rest of the songs, threading together heartache and hope with bewitching simplicity. Swiftly followed by the lucidity of 'Wisconsin', which sees their vocals cut through weaving, wavering harmonies with gentle clarity as they candidly discuss past love. Dead love appears almost spectral, presented as its own kind of grieving process – this is ok, we are told. It hurts, it's meant to hurt, and it should hurt. 'Sober' provides another standout cut, crafted as quiet, contemplative pop. Its drum track and soft, fairy-like piano chords anchor the song, while the beachy, uplifting sound of the chorus reaches up to the sky even as it works to belie the darker themes. But although this is an album that glitters with gorgeous vignettes, it is its cumulative effect that provides lasting impact; it is strangely arresting in its placidity and emotional depths. It's an album with real drive.