The Drones – “Shark Fin Blues”
appears on Wait Long by the River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By
It’s been two months since I posted the last track, and it’s taken me this long to post about The Drones for two reasons. One, we are now officially at the “business end” of the countdown; from here on, I wouldn’t flinch at calling any of these songs the best of the decade. They’re all stunning, they all give me shivers and make the world a better place by virtue of their existence. This is the really, really good stuff and it’s taken me a while to build up to writing about it. Two, I had an incredibly hard time deciding which Drones song to choose. I was very close to listing “Luck in Odd Numbers“, which is probably my sentimental favourite, while “Sixteen Straws”, arguably the most impressive Drones song in terms of lyricism, intensity and sheer endurance, also factored heavily. “I Don’t Ever Want to Change” is just ridiculously good fun, while strong outsiders like “Nail it Down” and “Jezebel” jostled for my attention. But, seriously, how can you go past the spectacular “Shark Fin Blues?” The muscular punk-blues track describes being stranded in shark infested waters, and reads equally well as literal storytelling or metaphor. Gareth Liddiard’s vocal is spectacular, particularly as he roars “fin by fin by fin by fin” during the song’s dying moments, and the lead guitar riff is one of the most creative and memorable I’ve ever heard. It’s the cut that 99% of Drones fans would probably call their favourite and even topped a Triple J poll of songwriters for the greatest song in Australian music history. Seeing it live borders on transcendental.