Monday, September 15, 2008

The Drones - Custom Made

seven inches represent an "extended play" for artists. in my opinion the seven inch is probably the hardest format to make a great record on because you don't have time to develop a running sound. where on a full album artists are able to throw in some filler between two great songs that isn't a possibility with seven inches. that is why i've decided to examine a seven inch weekly on here supposedly every sunday evening. i doubt this will actually occur as even the first post is being constructed past the "due date.", but who really cares. hopefully this will provide more great music for the few people that indulge my lengthy discussions.

the drones' 'custom made'

the first seven inch i'll be posting will be a recently materialized idea on ATP Records called Custom Made. it is basically a series of seven inches that will call for its roster of bands to put together a four song sampler with new and old material as well as covers. the first band to be involved with the series is a group that goes by the name The Drones. in my opinion, probably the best "rock" band currently active. The Drones hail from Australia where they've mashed a variety of sounds into some kind of cohesive devotion to American blues with a hefty amount of influence from groups like The Birthday Party. Neil Young styled guitar leads are all over their plethora of records, but the differences between 'Gala Mill' their latest and their debut are vast. 'Gala Mill' was a collection of expansive Australia folk lore while 'Here Comes the Lies' was essentially a blues cover album by a group that adores feedback. 'Custom Made' contains examples of all of these sounds opening up with a great remake of 'Cockeyed Lowlife of the Highlands'. Dissonant guitar lines abound the song introduces us to the aggressive side of The Drones with vocalist Gareth Liddiard howling his oddly cockney accent all over the track. Psychedelic guitar fills abound the song explodes into the next track 'I Don't Ever Want to Change' from 'Gala Mill. 'I Don't Ever Want to Change' is basically the hit of this record. It has a pop structure with a relaxed verse that explodes into a raging chorus. Commentary of the lyrics point to Liddiard commenting on a specific type of Australian who seeks peace in nature from their self destructive urban life. The track is a superb addition in terms of segue the noiser side of The Drones into the more composition based side of The Drones. 'I Drink' a cover of Charles Aznavour's 'Je Bois' is a track only The Drones could play. The track stutters in a variety of angular rhythms while Liddiard recounts his past indulgence in liquor. Finally we have the closer of this seven inch set, a ballad in only the way The Drones could do 'Shark Fin Blues'.

the drones' 'shark fin blues'

Every second of 'Shark Fin Blues' has purpose. From the cascading guitar intro to the bridge of las. This track is truly one of The Drones' finest moments and where it truly succeeds is in the lyrics. Liddiard sets the stage of some type of shipwreck with the narrator looking on,

'a harpoon's shaft is short and wide
a grappling hook's is cracked and dry
i said, why don't you get down in the sea
turn the water red like you want to be?

'cause if i cry another tear i'll be turned to dust

no the sharks won't get me they don't feel loss

just keep one eye on the horizon man,
you best not blink
they're coming fin by fin
until the whole boat sinks.'

-the drones - 'shark fin blues'

The Drones - 'Custom Made' (2007)

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