REVIEW: Amherst Drive – “Breakdown” / “Better Way” (single)

AMHERST DRIVE –  “Breakdown” / “Better Way” (2017 single)

What happens when an experimental avante-garde multi-instrumentalist goes punk?  You get Amherst Drive.  Derek Kortepeter is best known for his multi-genre solo music in which he plays all the instruments.  Naturally with Amherst Drive, he also plays and sings everything himself.

Like all of Derek’s music, Amherst Drive is memorable but challenging.  Punk rock?  Sure, but “Breakdown”, the first track on his new single, has none of the traditional punk rock melody.  Derek has taken his unusual stylings and amped them up.  “Better Way” is a ballad, but not an easy pill to swallow.  Neither of these songs are easy to digest.  Derek may have simplified some things and punked them up, but he has still fucked things up just enough to keep them edgy.  Unusual rhythms and melodies are mixed together in very un-punk-like fashion.

Good little debut punk single here from Amherst Drive.  Hopefully Derek will assemble a band and give these tunes a stretch live and see where they can go.

3.5/5 stars



  1. The tags on bandcamp for Amherst Drive are hardcore punk, punk and skater punk. All are way off base in my opinion. Also, SoCal punk plain and simple. When I think of SoCal punk I think of Green Day, Circle Jerks, Black Flag, NOFX etc. Amherst Drive sounds nothing like any of them.
    I do not hear much punk in these songs. Maybe ia bit in the instrumentation. The apathy in the vocals gave me more of a post punk or goth vibe.
    I think post punk and goth tags would give Derek the listeners that could appreciate this band.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey dude it’s Derek here. I appreciate the feedback. To your point about SoCal punk I labeled it that because I’m from Los Angeles, California. Sorry if that was a bit midleading. I’m writing a debut EP now so I will take in all the feedback as I write this stuff.

      Derek Kortepeter :)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks for being cool about it. After reading my comments I think they came across as harsh, and I can’t sing or play a tune, so what do I know.

        I think you would do an amazing Joy Division cover. Maybe a song like New Dawn Fades. Bringing back post punk to 2017 could be a niche market that is really undertapped. Not telling you what to do. Just my opinion.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. No problem mate! I think my issue is like, I am so used to being a free-form composer, that even when I set out to do a punk band like I’m doing, my experimental side is hard to suppress. So the post-punk sound you perceive is totally an accident (even though I love Joy Division), I was trying to take after my influences like Pennywise, Social Distortion, and Agnostic Front (look at what I wound up with haha).

          Genres in general are hard to apply to my music.

          Like the sound I want Amherst Drive to be is more what Breakdown is, aggressive and fast. But Better Way came about because my pop punk loving pr agent thought I needed a more diverse sound (aka love song). I doubt I’ll ever do that song live.

          The next EP will be much more a blistering assault than this, but I’m still figuring it out LOL.


  2. Listened to the track behind the link. Cool to hear new music. Any change of review of Quiet Riot’s Road Rage? Would be nice to hear what u think of it. It has a lot fist in the air sing along songs but …it feels like it’s missing something. Could sound great in a live setting.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would really like to hear Better Way without the drums added in at all. It has the makings of a nice song, but the drums are too loud, and they are not in synch with the rest of the song.
    To me it is almost like hearing both sides of a cassette. 2 songs at the same time.


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