The Drones - The Minotaur + A Brief Retrospective
New to me, I'm ashamed to say, but this taster package from the Melbourne four piece shakes the foundations. Entirely misrepresented by their (frankly, silly) moniker, these six tracks (two from each of their three albums, including new one 'Havilah') deliver a delicious shock to the system. What snaps me out of my regular torpor is a sound that takes its cue less from the tedious template of mainstream blues rock and more from the scuzzed-up, violent menace of twin guitars that skitter around each other like scorpions on a rock. Reference points ? Imagine a more muscular Bad Seeds, The Cramps with melodies, Television with the needlepoint precision replaced with louche disregard. Vocalist Gareth Liddiard growls with scary commitment and The Drones deliver that difficult-to-pin down, almost elemental, f***ed-up sound of the very earth that all the best bands from Oz manage to convey with almost unavoidable ease. Lyrically, Liddiard floats my entire fleet; from 'The Minotaur' : "We were just standing on the beach/When a bull rose from the surf/I said 'show him the back door my dear'/He'll only paw the turf." Sardonic like Cohen - who can ask for more ?
From the shimmering strut of lead track 'The Minotaur' to the wig-out of 'Baby' with its riff straight from Neil Young's 'Ragged Glory', these songs absolutely hit the mark. The breadth of their scope - from elementary folk rock to lengthier, almost improvised work-outs - impresses. 'Havilah', released last month in Australia, hits UK shelves early next year. On this evidence, worth setting the alarm for.