The Drones Gala Mill

Somewhere near the tail end of 2005, the second album by Australian quartet the Drones, the impressive Wait Long By the River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By, appeared inauspiciously on North American shores. Despite little fanfare, the album caught the ears of numerous music journalists for its back-to-basics booziness, a combination of Jon Spencer blues exploding against Aussie garage bands like the Scientists. A year later the Drones return with Gala Mill, their follow-up. Overall, it opts for the same ragged glory of its predecessor, due mainly to singer Gareth Liddiard’s half-a-bottle-of-whiskey ranting against "Jezebels” and other heartbreakers. But apart from a few notable exceptions, Gala Mill is a more subdued outing for this band, an album that spends more time simmering than boiling over. Fans of Wait Long may wonder where the Drones have invested their anthemic fury during the album’s middle stretch, but repeated listens reveal a band more interested in turning inward, heading toward back-roads country via vintage Neil Young. A worthy 2006 follow-up to a great 2005 album, but those new to the band are advised to start off at Wait Long. (All Tomorrow's Parties)