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The Drones: Feelin Kinda Free *

Track List

>Private Execution
>Taman Shud
>Then They Came for Me
>To Think That I Once Loved You
>Tailwind
>Boredom
>Sometimes
>Shut Down SETI

Album Notes

The mercurial Aussie rockers open their seventh studio long player with a thick blast of heavily treated guitar terror that suggests Muse by way of King Crimson, setting the stage for what is their weirdest and most visceral outing to date. Feelin Kinda Free doubles down on the darker aspects of 2013's critically acclaimed I See Seaweed, but where the former more or less adhered to the bluesy, alt-rock malevolence of album's past, the latter eschews traditional pop architecture in favor of something far more feral and unpredictable. The sonic heft that propels "Private Execution" soon gives way to icy, downtempo electronica on the harrowing "To Think That I Once Loved You" and the paranoid closer "Shut Down Seti," with its surrealistic ranting, sudden stylistic shifts, and white squalls of dissonance, wouldn't have sounded out of place on David Bowie's Blackstar. Even the lead single, the lurching "Taman Shud," simmers with atonal uneasiness, framing national discomfort against the story of a mysterious, unsolved Cold War-era murder over a barrage of complicated percussion and staccato guitar picking. As with most Drones outings, Feelin Kinda Free is steeped in the kind of learned cynicism that can only come from trying to reckon with political, cultural, and socio-economic distress head on -- the searing immigration/refugee anti-anthem "They Came for Me" comes to mind. It's certainly not an upbeat listen, nor are its myriad regional allusions easy to parse for non-Australians, but it engages enough on a cerebral level that it's consistently intoxicating, even at its most lethal. ~ James Christopher Monger



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