This band was the epitome of one of those all-too-common scenarios in 90s Christian music: the frustratingly great one-album wonder. Driver Eight released Watermelon via Tooth and Nail Records in 1996, to high acclaim from fans and critics alike, and then disappeared into the . . . well, that’s just it–we don’t know what happened!
The album featured a highly-effective mix of alternative rock styles including Britpop (even though the band was American), quasi-shoegaze, and jangle pop. It seemed that they were channeling equally such disparate influences as Smashing Pumpkins, Catherine Wheel, R.E.M., and Oasis.
So, where did the band go after releasing this one fantastic album, and why did they break up? While I can’t answer the second question (I wish I could!), we do know some bits and pieces about what the members got up to after Driver Eight. Guitarist Andy Blunda toured with mainstream act Fastball (“The Way”) and then later was a full-fledged member of Palo Alto, which also sometimes included Driver Eight bassist Alex Parnell. Singer/lyricist/founder Matt McCurtie had also been a one-time member of The Throes, and later contributed to music by Bon Voyage, Steve Hindalong, and Poole. He has subsequently released music as Theft, but unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to check it out yet.
Our song selection today features one of the brighter, poppier, more jangly tunes on the album, “Cheers.”