Iconic Australian rock band The Drones have already given the first taste of their sixth studio album, I See Seaweed, releasing lead single ‘How To See Through Fog’ in January, as well as teasing plans to tour their latest studio album.
While those anticipating the Australian tour dates will have to be patient a little longer, the band have now released the artwork, tracklisting, and a few interesting details of their latest, jettisoning itself as a strong and memorable follow up to 2008’s Havilah.
The Drones are Gareth Liddiard, Fiona Kitschin, Dan Luscombe, Mike Noga and Steve Hesketh (who appeared on two earlier records). Obvious to some, a useful piece of advice to others, their first incarnations rose to the surface around 15 years ago, and eight albums later, their ninth release, I See Seaweed, also follows Liddiard’s solo release, Strange Tourist from 2010.
While I See Seaweed moves away from detailing the Australian experience as other Drones albums have – notably 2005’s The Miller’s Daughter, and Wait Long by the River and the Bodies of Your Eniemies Will Float By, which won them the inaugural Australian Music Prize – this recent album has not lost the solemnity or darkness embodied previously by the 5-piece.
Manifested in songs like ‘Laika,’ featuring at the tail-end of the album, which tells the tale of the dog catapulted into space for a Soviet experiment in the late 1950s, and traces her journey from stray born on the street, to pup left in isolation as she orbits the earth, destined never to return.
In this story, as in many on the new album, Liddiard’s focus is broader, and discussion of the human condition and deep emotional responses ensue.
The final track on I See Seaweed, ‘Why Write A Letter That You’ll Never Send,’ is “actually quite a funny song.”
Lyrics from the aforementioned “Laika” include: “One day they’ll build her statue, put it in the yard / To show all the children and the palace guard /And one day all you children will be white dwarves too / You’ll cave under yourselves and become cruel, cruel, cruel.”
But there are brighter, more comical moments according to Liddiard, who says the final track on I See Seaweed, ‘Why Write A Letter That You’ll Never Send,’ is “actually quite a funny song.”
This is the track that moves from calm reflection to explosive outbursts on varied subjects such as war, religion, starvation, movie stars; right on through to Nazi popes and “the guy from U2”.
It’s a timely unearthing of album details too, as The Drones are due to play Sunday of this weekend’s All Tomorrow’s Party (I’ll Be Your Mirror Melbourne) Festival. They have also curated the day’s lineup, which includes Beasts of Bourbon, Crime & The City Solution, Dan Kelly Dream Band and Einsturzende Neubauten.
This album is the latest in a string of great Australian releases due this year from the likes of Bernard Fanning, Birds of Tokyo, the AMP shortlisted Hermitude, Hilltop Hoods, Airbourne, Boy & Bear, Matt Corby, Washington, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Super Wild Horses, a swathe of new material from Pond, and the just-announced album from Big Scary.
There is also a strong selection of international albums due out this year, including Fall Out Boy‘s latest, The Strokes’ fifth LP, Daft Punk’s long-awaited fourth studio album, their first after switching labels to Columbia Records, David Bowie’s first new album in a decade, and let’s not forget new records due soon from Vampire Weekend, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and The Knife’s 98 minute opus, Shaking The Habitual.
I See Seaweed will be available digitally and in store independently through MGM Distribution from March 1st 2013.
You can listen to the first single from the album, ‘How To See Through Fog’ featuring Steve Hesketh on piano, below, as well as the artwork and tracklisting:
I See Seaweed Tracklisting:
1. I See Seaweed
2. How To See Through Fog
3. They’ll Kill You
4. A Moat You Can Stand In
5. Nine Eyes
6. The Grey Leader
8. Why Write A Letter That You’ll Never Send