The Phantom Tollbooth
Artist: Dryve
Label:  Indie
Time: 9 tracks/37:40 minutes

I've always considered Dryve's national debut CD, Thrifty Mr. Kickstar, their second album because I was fortunate to pick up one of the last copies of their independent release, Hum, in October 1996, months before Thrifty was released. Dryve lasted barely a year on the national scene, but that first release is still available through some of the original members
of the band.

That year of fame was almost a decade in the making. Founders Paul Donovan and Cory Verner played as a folk duo for three years before adding other members, eventually building Dryve into a respectable presence in the San Diego club scene. Hum, originally released in 1994, is a snapshot of that lighter, less electric stage, in transition to true rock 'n' roll. Subsequent years saw them continue to turn up the volume, adding crunch and fuzz via electric guitar and a behemoth Hammond M-102 organ, but they never lost the ability to get light and intimate, if the situation warranted it.

Dryve continued to write new material as their sound changed, so Hum features an almost completely different set of original songs. Only one, "Rain on Me," a worship song, made it to their major distribution release. The eclectic instruments, smart, sun-drenched lyrics, and subtle hints of profound faith made Hum stand out from the muddy despair of grunge rumbling across the musical scene when it was originally released, and five years later, this is still a stand out. Dryve is fondly remembered by their fans who may well appreciate the opportunity to pick up Hum, but anyone interested in commercially viable music that does not compromise the artists's Christian beliefs will find this an enjoyable case study.

Linda T. Stonehocker (3/2/98)