The Drones
I See Seaweed


4.5
superb

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
June 18th, 2013 | 70 replies


Release Date: 03/01/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I See Seaweed is a fiercely intense showcase of the band's darkly enchanting style.

It's mind-boggling that Melbourne-based The Drones have yet to become renowned worldwide. While their releases have always drown hyperbolic praise in their homeland, the hype has never seemed to reach beyond the borders of Australia, as if the outfit's allure has been strictly specific to their own deserted land. In fact, it cannot be denied that the band's peculiar mash-up of raw garage punk and soulful blues ideally encapsulates the darkened heart of the Antipodes, reveling in the same sense of dread that makes most Nick Cave projects so darkly enchanting. Add singer Gareth Liddiard's shoddy phrasing and topical lyrics to that, and you're left with a reflective account of Australian landscape, one that's undeniably culture specific, but also universal in scope on many occasions.

Retaining the same keen sense of place, I See Seaweed marks a confident step up in quality from 2008's already outstanding Havilah. The numbers are more expansive taking plenty of time to build up to their overpowering finales. The juxtaposition of the mellowed-out and bombastic sections sound effortless, seeing The Drones excelling in their potent use of dynamics through the entire record. It's intriguing to experience how most of these songs unravel, embracing a vast sonic palette with enough expertise to keep the music grounded. Newly appointed keyboardist Steve Hesketh adroitly enhances the band's mostly rock-centered arrangements with a dash of jazz, which makes for a slightly more off-kilter sound this time around. Hesketh's lead piano melody in the subdued “How To See Through Fog” stands out as particularly arresting.

The strengths of the quintet are instantly apparent the moment the devastating title track kicks off. A melancholic verse crescendoes into an explosive refrain later totally downcast in the bridge. “We’re locksteppin’ in our billions,” Liddiard croons, “Locksteppin’ in our swarms / Locksteppin’ in the certainty that more need to be born,” unfolding his unapologetic take on overpopulation to frighteningly intense effect. Increasingly committed to avoiding cliches, Liddiard demonstrates his prowess as a commendable storyteller with his uniquely fatalistic visions. “A Moat You Can Stand In” pokes fun at modern religious rituals to the accompaniment of raucous noise rock referencing the outfit's early days. Following on the story of the dog that was shot into space in the 1950s, “Laika” may be the most haunting tune on the album. Its curious use of piano, sudden orchestral boost and harmonizing female choir result in full-on cinematic grandeur that's fairly distant from the group's usual aesthetics, if never less commanding.

There's nothing secondary about I See Seaweed which showcases The Drones at their creative peak. All eight tracks are meticulously structured, providing an excellent backdrop for Liddiard's dazzling poetry. His visions might seethe with uncomfortable observations and helplessness, yet there's something oddly captivating about these bruised rock epics. Even though they seem bleak and uninviting on the surface, at the end of the day you can't help paying attention infatuated with their supreme emotional intensity.



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user ratings (94)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Spare
June 18th 2013


5360 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

word. one of the best live bands i've seen

greg84
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2013


7432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hmm. I'd love to see them live.

Digging: Wildbirds & Peacedrums - Rhythm

EaglesBecomeVultures
June 18th 2013


5269 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great record

Digging: Dean Blunt - Black Metal

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2013


17944 Comments


ya this album is so great, glad you reviewed this

RadicalEd
June 18th 2013


2759 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

great review. Gotta check this.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2013


3492 Comments


Might want to change "crascendos," but otherwise great review as always

ProjectFreak
June 18th 2013


1438 Comments


I don't like most psychedelic things but you might have sold me on this one.

EaglesBecomeVultures
June 18th 2013


5269 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's not overly psych

EaglesBecomeVultures
June 18th 2013


5269 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

also why are tracks titled laika always the bessst

InfamousGrouse
June 18th 2013


3569 Comments


been meaning to grab this for months now..

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2013


3483 Comments


I don't know this band, but I'll check them out. They seem pretty cool from what you wrote about them.

Digging: Brant Bjork - Black Flower Power

MrElmo
June 18th 2013


1955 Comments


Stream? this looks pretty cool

MrElmo
June 18th 2013


1955 Comments


Nevermind it's on youtube, pretty interesting take on the Nick Cave style. digging

greg84
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2013


7432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks. Glad you're enjoying this guys. This definitely needs more love in these parts.

What's wrong with "crascendoes" Will? It's legit imo.

Jethro42
June 18th 2013


12547 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review, Greg. Do you think I'd dig it?

greg84
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2013


7432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yes. It's proggy at points... and as I stated their songs are really expansive on this one.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2013


3492 Comments


It's spelled "crescendos," otherwise it's fine

RadicalEd
June 19th 2013


2759 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"Haha. I'm only saying I'm right once again. Nevermind. I had my descriptive grammar classes a long time ago."

If you google crascendoes your review is literally the only thing that comes up, so i think it does not exist. Review is still good.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
June 19th 2013


7432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I actually found this form in the legit dictionary.

It's 'he/she/it cranscendoes' and the plural of 'crascendo' is 'crascendos'. Check this out: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/crescendo

MrElmo
June 19th 2013


1955 Comments


Music is good agreed?



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