Friday, September 22, 2006

Gala Mill

The Drones are a band unlike any other in the world today. Totally immune to fasion or currency, what you hear is what you get. And you get gold. The previous release, 'Wait Long by the River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By...' was a rare treat; a record by an Australian band proudly playing Australian music and daring to take it seriously. Justly rewarded with critical praise and awards, the follow-up, 'Gala Mill' takes that platform and builds what hopefully will be viewed in the future as a masterwork.
Restraint is the order of the day here, with the high-intensity explosions of 'Wait Long...' only allowed out once or twice (needless to say, when they do, it's a doozy, as evidenced by the thumping 'I Don't Ever Want to Change'), instead opting for longer, more spacious arrangements, allowing frontman Gareth Lidyard's crazed, strained vocals to come screaming to the fore. The restraint shown on this album actually manages to increase the intensity throughout, creating a sense of barely suppressed rage, fear and alienation.
Recorded shortly after the release of 'Wait Long...', 'Gala Mill' was recorded in a stone mill on Gala Farm in Tasmania, and the area's convict past permeates the record, be it the folk tale 'Words From the Executioner to Alexander Pearce' and the reworking of the old traditional ballad 'Moreton Bay' into 'Sixteen Straws', an 8 minute, sprawling, wordy epic, which along with opener 'Jezabel', bookend this magnificent piece of modern Australiana.
With this, The Drones have established themselves as one of, if not the most, relevant and important rock band in Australia today. They may never get the attention (and sales) of rehash rock bands like Jet and Wolfmother, but hopefully, many years from now, the legacy of this most wonderful band will live on.

5 stars

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At 1:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 10:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This blog entry is quite a true assessment of The Drones and their relevance in Aust/International music today - I've seen them 5 times in London (I'm an Australian in London) and their music transcends many boundaries and cliches of Australian rock, whilst not forgetting their heritage and history.

The sparseness of it speaks of an unequivocal self-confidence, a "fuck you" to the retro-stylings of your Wolfmothers or Jets, no need for derivation.

The Drones have something to say and, really, we all should be listening - they are that fucking good.


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