The Drones, 'Havilah' (ATP)

Critical Mass
Label: ATP

by J Gabriel Boylan

Taking cues from Australian forebears the Birthday Party and the Scientists, with touches of Dirty Three's dusty rage, these country-tinged post-punks would be bookish if their shadowy, hell-bent narratives weren't so creepy. Opener "Nail It Down" sets the template with an anxious, loping beat that matches frontman Gareth Liddiard's throaty vocals as he slides from conversational to caterwauling. Sidewinding bass lines and slashing guitar help pull together ballads of marital woe ("The Drifting Housewife"), epic rock­outs ("I Am the Supercargo"), and rousing takes on regret ("Your Acting's Like the End of the World").

Listen: "The Minotaur"



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