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Gala Mill


The Drones mark their return in 2006 with the release of their much-anticipated third album, Gala Mill. Recorded in a mill on an isolated 10,000 acre farm on Tasmania's east coast, Gala Mill is an album full of extremes -- moments of stark, ghostly beauty set against outbursts of the dark, intense noise for which the band is renowned. The album's sense of place is palpable -- barking dogs and birdsong are heard between tracks, and the island's history and atmosphere resonate through the songs. This is as diverse and eclectic a collection of songs as The Drones have recorded to date. It opens with "Jezebel," nearly eight minutes of sound and fury wound tightly around a complex lyric that encompasses subjects as diverse as nuclear testing in Australia, the Beslan school massacre, a cow that glows in the dark and the murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl. "Dog-Eared" is a quietly introspective ballad, while "I'm Here Now" chronicles watching friends slide into heroin addiction. "Words From the Executioner to Alexander Pearce" tells the story of the notorious convict Pearce who escaped twice from Macquarie Harbour, both times cannibalizing his fellow escapees, and was eventually executed for his crimes. "I Don't Ever Want to Change" is about depression and denial, and "Work for Me" sees Kitschin's debut on lead vocals. "I Looked Down the Line and I Wondered" takes its title from a song by the 1930s gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe, while "Are You Leaving For The Country" is a breezy cover of a song made famous by Karen Dalton. Finally, "16 Straws" is a lyric ballad without precedent in The Drones' previous work, a song that draws on a rich tradition of Australian storytelling. Infused with a rich sense of history and yet utterly modern, both thought-provoking and viscerally compelling, Gala Mill marks the welcome return of one of Australia's most intelligent, innovative and important bands.