The Drones
Havilah


4.5
superb

Review

by Jared W. Dillon USER (118 Reviews)
October 30th, 2008 | 76 replies | 15,974 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The band once again revel in their mix of Neil Young, Tom Waits, and Black Flag. Gloriously loud and perhaps even a little more restrained 'Havilah' sits next to 'Gala Mill' as yet another great, dynamic record from the Drones.

A constant comment on the Drones seems to concern how they will never achieve mainstream acceptance - that the group has carved out a niche in rock that is simply too abrasive for the average music listeners. While there is truth to that sentiment, the complete lack of awareness concerning the band is puzzling. The fact that websites like Pitchfork haven’t turned 'Havilah' or any of the band’s previous records into yet another one of their flavor of the week "classics" leaves the band's blend of blues and indie rock feeling authentic. 'Gala Mill,' the group's previous release, revealed itself to be a fantastic album over time. Cuts like 'Jezebel' came off as rubbish with lead vocalist Gareth Liddiard presiding over most of the tracks with his shoddy cockney accent. When confronted with the actual dense, dark tales, Liddiard bellows, though it is tough not to be fascinated with his picture of Aussieland. 'Gala Mill' seemed to echo the images of an artist like Bruce Springsteen in his attempt to embrace and reflect a cultural dialect through music. In turn, 'Havilah' has lightened up the gloom of The Drones, positioning itself as the band’s third great album in a row.

To declare Gareth Liddiard the most imaginative lyricist currently performing may be somewhat of a frivolous statement, but is certainly valid when examining his discography. 'Jezebel,' his masterpiece, was applauded immensely after ‘Gala Mill’s’ release. For those unfamiliar with the opener of 'Gala Mill,' it is a vicious recollection of numerous battles all focused through the prism of a man simply wishing to see his lover again. Recalling everything from World War 1 to fallen Iraqi War victim Daniel Pearl, the track remains singular in its post 9-11 examination of world affairs. 'Havilah' attempts to take a less formidable approach on the world and Liddiard seems to have replaced his anger with longing. 'Oh My' spits lines like "People are a waste of food" over a gloriously bizarre instrumental that marks itself up as one of the poppiest moments in The Drones discography. ‘I Am The Supercargo' reflects the ideas of cargo cults in epic proportions. 'Cold and Sober' acts as the ballad of the album with Liddiard slowly wailing over beautifully distorted guitar. ‘The Minotaur,’ the first single, seems to be the only track in the more aggressive fashion of the band’s older recordings punctuated by the great verse:

‘i have the same old dream
about a tunnel by my bed
from where the stench of **** of minotaurs
yawns like lewd and evil breath
but instinct and a map
has set to work inside my head
lnstead of shedding tears
i've learned to drink and piss instead'
-the drones – ‘the minotaur’

The brilliance of the lyrics on 'Havilah' is so overwhelming that the record perceivably could’ve been just as touching had it been released as a novella. Luckily, instead we are giving an instrumental backing that features some of the best dual guitar interplaying in years. That Liddiard has seemingly defined his generation in lyrical modernism is impressive, but place upon that the fact that he and recently acquired guitarist Dan Luscombe are playing some of the most interesting and melodic guitar lines since the references points of 'Surfer Rosa' and 'Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere' is just admirable. Fiona Kitschin and Michael Noga head an impressive rhythm section that helps propel 'The Minotaur' into serene post-punk. The band also uses a variety of extended percussion techniques on tracks like 'The Drifting Housewife' extending the vocabulary of 'Gala Mill' and 'Wait Long by the River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By.'

'i try most nights to get you out of my mind
but you're still there silent by my side most the time
i can't help that i let you down
it's too long and too late
and i can't help if i broke your heart
it's too long and too late'
-the drones - 'your acting's like the end of the world'

'Havilah' ends with the haunting 'Your Acting's Like the End of the World.' The most upbeat track on the record, the lyrics tell a completely different story. Ending with the aforementioned verse, we get the feeling Liddiard is somewhat haunted by these hopeless characters he is constantly conjuring. The Drones revolve in a world that is both light and dark. The band’s music reflects the realistic nature of situations in the embellished tradition of the blues. Perceiving events as global and immense as the first lunar landing, the track ‘Penumbra’ recollects Buzz Aldrin in a stark acoustic number. Perhaps that is where the Drones have succeeded flawlessly over their last three records - conjuring up images that are both so seemingly personal yet widely accepted that the listener can do nothing but relate. Whether they have or not, ‘Havilah’ will remain as yet another great record from one of the most talented acts currently playing rock music.



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user ratings (76)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 30th 2008



15727 Comments


I have this but haven't listened. I'll get on that soon.

Digging: Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again

joshuatree
Emeritus
October 30th 2008



3743 Comments


band is so good, i seriously just started a review for here comes the lies. haven't given this enough listens though, ive been too focused on gala mill and wait long by the river... recently. good review too.

AtavanHalen
October 30th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I need to get this record. Everytime I listen to this band it blows my mind. Anyone heard their cover of River Of Tears by Kev Carmody? All jokes aside, nearly puked of how good it was.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
October 30th 2008



2634 Comments


Great review.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
October 30th 2008



2125 Comments


Great review. This band is possibly the best rock band on the planet at the moment.

Doppelganger
October 30th 2008



3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Glad someone finally reviewed this. Top 3 for 2008 for sure.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
October 30th 2008



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ya i'm gonna get this album

review has some pretty sweet grammar

Meatplow
October 30th 2008



5524 Comments


i had an album by these guys I got at local library a year or two ago, the name is getting thrown about everywhere now

Anodyne
October 31st 2008



85 Comments


album rules

Kodan
October 31st 2008



20 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fantastic album.

Auldy
November 1st 2008



351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album rules, band rules
if you get the chance see them live. Totally higher level of chaotic awesomeness

br3ad_man
Emeritus
November 1st 2008



2125 Comments


They're reasonably big in Australia. They usually come close to selling out the venue when they play here. I missed them this tour but the last one was so intense.

Time
November 1st 2008



81 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i love love love Gala Mill, i'll get this within the next few days

Apocalyptic Raids
November 3rd 2008



810 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

definitely gonna buy this sucker in the next week or two. saw it at the library the other say but
i'm holding out

disappointed they're not coming here on their aussie tour This Message Edited On 11.03.08

AtavanHalen
November 3rd 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Where is here?

Apocalyptic Raids
November 3rd 2008



810 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

newcastle

AtavanHalen
November 3rd 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Poor Newcastle, you guys always gotta trek to Sydney. I'm south of Sydney by a couple of hours so I feel your pain.

Vooligan
November 3rd 2008



3541 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

been contemplating getting this.
sounds like i should going by the review

Apocalyptic Raids
November 3rd 2008



810 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Poor Newcastle, you guys always gotta trek to Sydney. I'm south of Sydney by a couple of hours so I feel your pain.

yeah. since my friends don't really like the same stuff as me i often can't be bothered going down to sydney for shows.

Spare
November 3rd 2008



5252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This was a shit comment so it was edited to this:

This album is really good.This Message Edited On 11.25.08

Digging: Radiator Hospital - Torch Song



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