There’s something very familiar about ‘Shark Fin Blues’, side one of this double a-side seven-inch lifted from The Drones’ Australian Music Prize-winning Wait Long By The River And The Bodies Of Your Enemies Will Float By. It packs into four minutes the drowsy blues of prime Stones alongside a healthy assortment of screeching riffs lifted wholesale from discordant punks past, but never really makes an impression independent of its influences. (Strangely, at its very beginning it almost brings to mind Dire Straits. Seriously.) Gareth Liddard’s distressed vocals capture perfectly the shrieks of a man on the very edge of some precipice or other, be it physical or entirely in his own mind, but the archaic music about him never reveals soul enough to warrant concentrated critical exploration. It’s a decent composition executed decently, but far from the original blast of frazzled blues it wishes to be.
A hard-touring act to say the least, The Drones’ live set is something worth shelling out for: in such an environment, their gritty and low-tuned rawk ‘n’ brawl makes perfect sense, especially after a whiskey or two. ‘Shark Fin Blues’, as presented here, is simply too neat and tidy to recommend without caution. Yes, it’s likely to have one’s foot stomping – it’s worth mentioning that flipside ‘You Really Don’t Care’ is a comparative riot, those tearaway riffs from the band’s live performances committed to tape excellently – but whether you’ll play it more than twice is debatable.
My advice: worth a punt if the price is right, but if not save those pennies for the next time The Drones are in town.
6Mike Diver's Score