London based punkers DRONES follow up 2018’s fantastic debut ‘Exiled’ with ‘Our Hell Is Right Here’ – Out now via North American Thousand Island Records and UK’s Lockjaw Records.
For fans of Mallory Knox and Rise Against, ‘Our Hell Is Right Here’ is a statement of intent from one of the UK’s bright young punk talents. This album flies out of the gates with opener ‘Please Vacate The Planet’ showcasing DRONES high-octane stylings and following on from where they left off. It captures the sorry state of the world in 2021 perfectly but rather than sounding angry or upset, provides hope with its tone. Vocalist Lois McDougall’s catchy melodies and thought-provoking lyrics just make you feel better about it all. There is certainly some magic in that, especially as this album documents a traumatic period for McDougall. “It’s been a pretty rough ride for the past couple of years,” she says when looking back on the journey the band have been on to get to this point. “But I struggle with claiming my problems and sadness as valid because they are disproportionate to the danger and loss that many face every day. It got to the point where I was almost ashamed to write songs about my own life. However, I’m learning that personal care and self-worth is not something to be diminished. There are songs on this album that I had to write for my own therapy. Whilst writing this record, I went through a divorce, lost a family member and was battling with my own mental health”.
Other stand out tracks here are ‘Live & Let Live’, ‘Our Hell is Right Here (feat Ren Aldridge from Petrol Girls) and ‘Josephine’ all providing the listener with polished slabs of syncopated guitars, driving bass/drums and earworms for days! The production across the album has been taken up a notch since ‘Exiled’ with cheeky little bass fills and guitar lines featuring more prominent than before. DRONES also highlight their softer side on ‘Listen’ which comes at the right point of the album at track 5 and provides a beautiful dynamic. The only gripe here is that it could have been longer!
DRONES have steadily made a name for themselves with their energetic and tight live show from playing the toilet circuit to appearing on festival stages. The songs on display here are only going to elevate them to the next level and will sound massive when the time comes to tour again. They’ve recently been announced to play Till The Fest at the Amersham Arms in London which is scheduled to run 08-10 October. Tickets available here.
There is no doubting that ‘Our Hell Is Right Here” was created through turbulent times in every sense but DRONES have ridden the crest of the wave and show no signs of slowing down.
Words by Singh Lottay.