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Polaroids Of Androids

Record Reviews

9.3

The Drones
Havilah

While on the surface The Drones' signature sound seems most comfortable lying naked in the dark woods, suffering under haunting tales of regret and self-pity, at other moments the music partners up with a drunken, confident swagger, beckoning challengers to try and be tougher than it. The way in which this two-headed beast wrestles it's way through the ten tracks of Havilah is not only the core factor that makes it such an enjoyable record, but also the key reason why The Drones are such an important Australian band.

This album basks in the violent and often abrupt shifts between these two paradoxes. On one side there is the aggressive style of tracks like The Minotaur, with the comical digs at the foolish nature of the modern world spat at the listener in a tone not too dissimilar to that of a bratty, mocking teenager. The confessional storytelling style of songs like Cold and Sober couldn't be further removed from this, balancing on a point between a carefree wandering melody and honest, fragile vocals.

The true beauty of this record is that while evoking very different emotional responses from the listener, both sides of the group's personality are equally as powerful. On several occasions these two styles are thrown into the ring together, with the vocals of Gareth Liddiard forced to ride through the rollercoaster of emotional shifts, acting as a gauge of the song's changing mood. This brings Liddiard's lyrics to the forefront, where they have always sounded best, and for the most part the music follows his lead, with his hyperbolic delivery often guiding the music's progression.

Above all, these continual changes in mood give the music a much more human presence. The group have successfully been able to make the listener feel like they are sitting alongside the band, instead of being merely a member of the audience.

The album is also strengthened by a large amount of variety. This is not only found in the group's ability to move songs down different paths at the drop of a hat, but also through a somewhat purposeful experimentation into different styles. The decision to close out the album with a more uptempo pop number is surprising, but also works incredibly well, with Liddiard's painfully delivered vocals pleasantly ripping apart the gentle acoustic glow.

In many respects Havilah is evidence of a band that have decided to take back the reigns of a beast that they have enjoyed watching run wild for some time. There is undeniably a greater sense of control this time around, which helps the group strike a more logical and natural balance between the conflicting elements of their sound, which have previously dragged them, somewhat unwillingly, in opposite directions.

The Drones have released some damn fine material in the past but this is as close as they have ever come to absolute perfection.

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The Drones

 

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Comments

Sean

SO
GOOD

Actually a lot quieter than I was anticipating. But once again they blow me away.

The only (Australian) band that matters.

1 decade ago

Jonny Yes Yes

thanks for offering to review this for us Sean.. real nice of yer..

1 decade ago

quack

yeh this album is it.

Let me offer a review:

"95 times better than Young Modern; 23.75 times better than the fourth Kings of Leon album (name? i've already forgotten)."

1 decade ago

monachilada

maths

1 decade ago

troyox

another band I dont really "get", sounds like mush, but it took me a while to get ECSR so maybe i'll come round

1 decade ago

quack

anyone see, or planning on seeing them this tour? they were pretty decent last night in brisbane. lots of wnkrs in the crowd - i dunno, i didnt expect that. too much talking going on during set - but the band were pretty tight.

1 decade ago

Seymour

I saw them at the metro on friday night. I really really enjoyed it.

A few wanks at the metro as well, and lots of tall people. But yeah, the band was awesome.

1 decade ago

gemdilem

listening now...
they have really long songs...

1 decade ago

Sean

i was at the metro gig as well. they were AWESOME.

i had a couple friends with me who were totally brand new to the band and they were completely blown away.

and i was one of the tall people. sorry.

1 decade ago

quack

Nail it down was a complete animal live. I didn't really think much of the song before hearing it live.

1 decade ago

Seymour

Yeah Nail It Down/Minotaur opening was great.

Apology accepted Sean.

1 decade ago

Jonny Yes Yes

i have been hammering this album today..... whoa... it is pretty much fucking brillyant x 1000000

1 decade ago

Sean

NICE

1 decade ago

monachilada

NAIL IT DOWN

1 decade ago

monachilada

yeah, no, seriously, it might just be the single greatest song i've ever heard.
who's with me?

1 decade ago

Seymour

I'm with you.

Nai it Down so great.

But can't go past Minotaur...looking up porn and playing halo 2! Such a great line.

1 decade ago

Sean

Nail It Down is amazing Mike, totally agreed.

1 decade ago

Jonny Yes Yes

ok... so i tied in the old comments with the review.. 'synergy'

1 decade ago

Sean

nicely written.

9.3 is spot on as far as I'm concerned. A brilliant record.

1 decade ago

Seymour

Definently one of my favourite records of this year.

Really nice review.

1 decade ago

saimagery

Saw them play Stonefest on the weekend, and yeah, awesome.

I'd blow a load for a gig of them preceded by Snowman.

1 decade ago

Jeb86

I saw the lead singer on RocKwiz last night. Man, his presence on stage blew me away in a millisecond. And I noticed the Audreys singer was similarly awed during their Stones duet. So I downloaded Havilah (yes illegally, an argument for another day but let's just say I like to try before I buy and sometime this week I will be buying this disc and if JB has any other Drones lying about, I will get those too. I have purchased 8 Flaming Lips albums and I would never of got into them without illegal downloading. Okay so maybe this argument wasn't for another day lol). But the Drones, wow, what a monster of an album, it's got the scope, the feel, it has heart and brains, it's just magic. I am already drooling at the prospect of seeing them live. Don't a great musical find like this make one a happy camper?

1 decade ago

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