If the Drones have grown a touch more polished and focused with time, it's not at the expense of creating compelling music--if anything, Havilah even more clearly places the band as one of Australia's best rock bands ever.
This more relaxed style allows a somewhat more forthright exploration of the defeat/desolation that runs through much of Liddiard’s material. In fact, the structure of the album as a whole reflects this neatly.
Havilah broadens the Drones' sonic palette and continues to carve out a sound that is uniquely theirs, and in that sense it's an accomplishment, but wrestling with the record's dark subject matter makes it a difficult listen.
Sidewinding bass lines and slashing guitar help pull together ballads of marital woe ('The Drifting Housewife'), epic rockouts ('I Am the Supercargo'), and rousing takes on regret ('Your Acting's Like the End of the World').
Not a bad addition to the Antipodean canon then, and an interesting mix of the macho, the sensitive, the timeless and the "cool right now"--although one suspects that the latter is not something the band have deliberately aspired to.
In Gareth Liddiard, the quartet have a singer-songwriter and guitarist of dark intensity, and his vivid narratives draw on the landscape and character of his homeland in a delicately melancholic way. [May 2009, p.85]