steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Drones

"Gala Mill" CD

All Tomorrow's Parties

Genres: indie rock, country rock, folk rock

November 2006

Combining dirty rock and Southern twang seamlessly, The Drones don't disappoint on Gala Mill, a disc full of slowish folky songs and high-power rock romps. Despite the varying tempos and energy levels, though, the mood remains distinctly gritty on Gala, with even the band's sensitive side exuding a certain bluntness.

On the rockier end of things, we've got a number of fine treats on Gala Mill; opener "Jezebel" is a plodding, stubborn slab of pure tension that drags your blood stump of a body from its dinged-up bumper. "I Don't Ever Want to Change," meanwhile, is the disc's melodic single - it's kind of like a bruised up version of a Cracker anthem. Cataclysmic "I'm Here Now," on the other hand, spends five slow minutes building up to a gruesome climax and "I Looked Down the Line and Wondered" is snarly but melodically perfect.

Then we come to the slower, country-folkish tunes that occupy every other track on the disc. "Dog Eared" and "Words From The Executioner To Alexander Pearce" are bare-bones songs with plodding tempos and eventual climaxes, while female-led "Work For Me" and country-styled "Are You Leaving the Country" stay slow and loose. Nine minute "Sixteen Straws," meanwhile, is a pure guitar and voice narrative showcasing Gareth Liddiard's unique voice and vivid lyrical style.

Overall, Gala Mill accomplishes all that could be hoped for - it's a consistently entertaining record with a unique, successful sound. As far as the modern alt country / folk scene goes, this is at the top. For me, The Drones are right with Okkervil River and Magnolia Electric Co on today's scene; Gala Mill is simply proof.

mp3s (from i don't ever want to change


Fun Fact: Gala Mill was recorded on a ten thousand acre farm in Tasmania.

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 9 tracks, 54:51, distributed by Forced Exposure, released 2006]