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Sly & The Family Drone | Walk It Dry

The noisy Brits split the diff between styles — while splitting your head open.


Subtlety is for saps. Rehearsals are restrictive. Volume is an instrument. Chaos is the ultimate plan. And more is always better. U.K. extremists Sly & The Family Drone put those questionable mottos into incredible practice once again on their latest full-length Walk It Dry. For the noobs: They’re mostly an instrumental foursome (right now) consisting of a thundering drummer, a leather-lunged sax colossus, and two knob-twisting electronic sound manipulators. Their shared goal: To create a sound that splits the diff between free jazz, noise-rock, experimental sonic art and more — while simultaneously splitting their listeners’ heads wide open, exploding the audience’s ear drums and shredding the sonic fabric of the universe. They’ve been walking that walk for years. Now it’s your turn.

THE PRESS RELEASE: “London’s kings of noise Sly & The Family Drone follow up their 2019LP Gentle Persuaders with Walk It Dry, an eight-track LP that utilises the band’s familiar sound palette of skronked electronics, bulging noise blasts, wailing sax & Kalashnikov drums that was found on 2019’s Gentle Persuaders but is a very a different beast. The tracks here are shorter and punchier as the band digs deeper than ever to find increasingly potent sonic pockets. Bolstered with a directional force rare in this strain of noise the album begins at the deep end with A Black Uniformed Strutting Animal, a raucous cacophony backed by a thick groove, before the bleeps and bloops of Dead Cat Chaos Magician kick in, sounding like a haunting in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Swearing On The Horns is a folk-sludge ditty scraping through a psychic wormhole that exits at the feet of Bulgarian Steel — a grimacing march punctuated with metallic screams where the sax becomes an overstressed alarm siren. Shrieking Grief, with its rapid fire drum rolls and megaton payloads of pummelling noise, concludes the A side loudly. Side B opens with stretched-out droning layers and winding loops on Sunken Disorderly, providing a gloomy refuge for some cosmic meditation. The album at this point converges into the morbidly fascinating black and white horror of My Torso Is A Shotgun, perhaps the most widescreen and immediate example of the band’s progression, before playing out with the deathly lament of Tsukiji. A suitable soundtrack to the end-times.”