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Reviews

The Drones
Havilah Julian Marszalek , February 17th, 2009 11:16

That every band has roots is undeniable; the love of their favourite music and its ability to move and provoke an emotional response is the reason most decide to get together. For a lot bands, it remains enough that these roots are simply replicated. Witness Oasis and their ongoing facsimile of the Lennon-McCartney songbook tempered by the Sex Pistols' sonic onslaught which is all well and good for those with low expectations but sometimes those roots need to be expanded upon. Ergo, Australia's The Drones.

Listening to Havilah, The Drones' love of Neil Young & Crazy Horse's Zuma soon becomes apparent. As does their deep affection for The Birthday Party and The Gun Club but this isn't to suggest that The Drones aren't working from their own aesthetic. Crucially, The Drones understand what created those sounds and what drove their heroes to those far out places and in doing so, pause only to doff their caps in gratitude before building on the foundations laid down for them.

The descending scales and atonal guitars of opener 'Nail It Down' act as a primer of what's to follow. Sure, the reference points are in place but there is enough of The Drones' personality infused here to ensure that it's their own voice that's being heard. There's a wonderfully drunken quality at play here; the sound a little off-kilter and a sense of resignation that's hammered home by the slurred weariness that drives Gareth Liddiard's voice and the noises elicited from his six strings.

'The Minotaur' follows through with all the characteristics of shock and awe. The instruments don't just pound, they collide with a brute force of such power that the only reaction is that of compulsive revulsion. A product of extremes, The Drones mark out their territory and dare you to cross the line with them.

As exemplified by the epic 'Luck In Odd Numbers' or the fearsome 'Your Acting's Like The End Of The World', Liddiard's attraction to a dark world of shadows and pain is compelling without being alienating. This, after all, is a man who could read a phone book and fill his delivery with a hypnotic dread.

But, more importantly than that, Havilah leaves the distinct impression that this is the moment that The Drones are about to reach a wider audience. All the component parts - Dan Luscombe's cheesewire guitar, Mike Noga's spluttering percussion, the low-end precision of Fiona Kitschin and, of course, Gareth Liddiard's compelling vocal and instrumental contributions – are firmly in place. All that's needed now is your trust.

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