1000 Albums Project

ALBUM 296

Exiled, by Drones
Suggested by Luke Kay

At the time of writing, I’m around four reviews behind.

I’ll catch up, of course. It’s what, the 21st of December 2020? I’m taking a break from Randomisation from the 25th to the 28th inclusive, four full days to leisurely clear the backlog and see me sauntering towards a clean slate with a jaunty grin. Of course, if you’re listening to this on the podcast, which to my reckoning will be broadcast on the 24th of October 2021, you may well know if I made the 1000 Albums deadline on 31st August, but it’s likely you don’t care either way.

I’m on plan with the actual listening, mind. That’s the easy part. It’s the reviews that are trickier to maintain, as with almost three hundred behind me the creative wellspring is currently a little dry. I generally manage my listens on the day of Randomisation, with the reviews currently coming roughly twenty-four hours later.

The reason I’m boring you with this tedious minutiae? Because I listened to Exiled, by Drones, a full day ago. And I can’t remember a thing about it.

That can’t bode well for the band, right? That I gave them forty minutes of my life, forty minutes that was so forgettable that it left no visible marks whatsoever? Or is it merely a consequence of the rapid-fire nature of my consumption?

Either way, I’m off for a second listen. See you after the ellipsis.

The first track on Exiled, the raucous For Those Who Care, kicks off with some energetic and echoing fuzzy drums before exploding into a wiry, buzzing guitar riff in fine punk style. The bass adds weight, and the snarling sneer from vocalist Lois McDougall is the glace cherry on this tasty bakewell. Their second song, Inferno, commences with a barking chant of rebellion and thundering through for three minutes straight. The third, Rorschach, offers up an intro that gives a glimpse of something less frenetic before proving to be just as frenetic as the rest.

There’s a real sense of pace to this album, and fine vein of genuine anger in the emotion. According to the internet, Exiled is a concept album that centres on the European Refugee Crisis, utilising multiple viewpoints of fictional characters to highlight their perspectives and predicaments. It’s an attempt to raise awareness and underscore their plight, but it either passes unnoticed (yay!) or I have an inability to register it, another symptom of musical malaise.

Happily, these short sharp daggers of punk anger are not the only things on offer. When Drones decide to slow the pace, they do so in fine style. There’s the acoustic Black Blood and the slow rocking Sick Bay, both of which bring a taste of the wider menu this band is capable of providing. But even with this smorgasbord of style and pace on show, I prefer the more knuckleduster punch of their faster songs. My standout is the final track, the epic and shifting Born & Erased, which starts at a furious pace before mellowing to an exultant crescendo.

I’m unsure why this album didn’t register first time around. Maybe I was distracted by work, or maybe I just wasn’t in the mood. Whatever the reason, I’m glad I gave it a second pass. I award Exiled a fine 7/10.

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