On their 2006 debut When All That's Left Is You, Minneapolis quintet Quietdrive mixes up elements from the last three decades of alt rock. There's more than a hint of '80s new wave and college rock, most prominently on a cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time," but also in their cavernous drums, old-school synths, and pulsating guitar rhythms, plus the occasional sugary singalong chorus. But their basic style is grounded in '90s alt rock, in its surging guitar rock explorations of angst, anthemic choruses, and flourishes of blink-182-styled punk-pop. But, at its heart, When All That's Left Is You is a thoroughly modern rock record -- pretty and processed, neurotic and narcissistic, clean, crisp, and professional -- so it plays smoothly, but doesn't leave much of a lasting impression. Although they can pull off the occasional naggingly catchy chorus -- particularly on the opening triptych of "Rise from the Ashes," "Get Up," and "Take a Drink" -- Quietdrive doesn't have a distinctive spin on modern rock; in fact, for all of lead singer/songwriter Kevin Truckenmiller's emo navel-gazing, he does seem more comfortable with following the pack, or as he says on "Take a Drink" "I never wanna be part of the herd/I guess I was in case you haven't heard/Maybe you can tell that I can't stand/The way I want to be the included." That sentiment sums up the sound and emotion of Quietdrive's debut; for a bunch of self-centered and self-obsessed songs, it sure sounds like everything else out there. Not markedly worse or better, mind you -- just more of the same. And while that may get them a single or two as background music on an MTV reality show, it will have about the same shelf life as that show as well.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine