[colored_box color=”grey”]Rating: 8
Label: InsideOut Music
Website: Link
Author: Andrew Koran[/colored_box]

Since her departure from The Gathering back in 2007, Anneke has pursued a hard working musical journey, including guest appearances in many great bands such as Anathema, Within Temptation and of course working next to the almighty Devin Townsend for some of his projects. Despite all these guest appearances though, her main focus has been her solo work (as Agua de Anique and now under her own name).

Drive‘ is her fourth solo studio album, and from opener ‘We Live On’ through to the final notes of ‘The Best Is Yet To Come‘ it proves to be her most accessible work to date. Balancing from ballads to alternative rock sounding tunes with a slight pop sense glittering the overall sound.

Both first two tracks opening the album are fine examples of what used to be called power-pop. Rock ballad ‘She’ keeps up the quality, and then unfortunately things take a dive with the title song “Drive” which sounds to radio-friendly even for a wide mind-opened rocker. “My Mother Said”, It’s a beautifully sung piano based ballad, which might be one of the highlights of the album.

Next follows “Forgive Me” that by all means brought me in mind The Gathering in the way they sound without Anneke, and so does track 7 “You will never Change”.

Mental Jungle” blends eastern sounds with the help of additional vocalist Hayko Cepkin from Turkey singing in an arabic dialect. Traditional metal instrumentation and this clashing of cultures makes this track an interesting listen and took me back to The Gathering’s older days/sound.

Songs “Shooting..” and closer track “The Best Is…” simply follow the pop groovy character the album has in general and nothing so special in particular can be said.

The quality of the songwriting is luckily superb as does the performance of the musicians involved. The quality of playing, from her regular touring band is top notch, and packed with feeling and energy. Anneke is blessed with a truly lovely voice and pure recognisable tone and warmth, qualities that enhance all songs to the most and save the weaker tracks from mediocraty.

Overall, the songs on ‘Drive’ are enjoyably catchy, with much to enjoy. There is a need for albums that just make the listener feel happy or optimistic,and ‘Drive’ is a record that contains such songs. It ain’t perfect, but it’s enjoyable, so enjoy listening and smiling simultaneously…Cause “Drive” it’s made to make you feel such a way!

Track List Line Up
01. We Live On
02. Treat Me Like A Lady
03. She
04. Drive
05. My Mother Said
06. Forgive Me
07. You Will Never Change
08. Mental Jungle
09. Shooting For The Stars
10. The Best Is Yet To Come
Anneke van Giersbergen – vocals, guitar
Gijs Coolen – guitar
Ferry Duijsens – guitar
Joost van Haaren – bass
Annelies Kuijsters – keyboards, backing vocals
Rob Snijders – drums