The latest effort by Australia's super trio the Necks is a darkly swirling journey into sound that encompasses jazz, rock, and hypnotic grooves, all organically played without loops or samples, to brilliant effect. Like a mirror image of Manuel Gottsching's classic E2-E4, Drive By is one long track -- over 60 minutes. It unfolds gradually. Chris Abrahams keyboards create the pulse that is gradually taken over by Lloyd Swanton's bassline. It's less than a handful of notes that creates the effect, but the layering of Tony Buck's drumming, and Abrahams multi-textured keyboards over the framework, is positively mind-bending, this is only ten minutes into the piece! The dynamic is controlled and channeled through the middle, keeping the vibe of the piece moody, dark, and full of a controlled menace that gives way to a dreamy, shimmering gloss of ether and darkness. Great washes of synth sound come undulating through the backdrop intermittently, organ riffs course in contrapuntal rhythmic lines against Buck's ever prominent bassline, and a piano slithers through almost imperceptibly, as its seemingly random placement is off-kilter and ever surprising. The sense of relaxed ambivalence grows exponentially in the listener, though very gradually. By the time it ends, there is nothing but a mantra of excess for the pulse itself, and a warped sense of time and space echoing in the listening room, pervading every surface inner, outer, and secret. Sleep isn't recommended, though an overwhelming sense of dream prevails. This is a remarkable, resoundingly brilliant album: that from such restraint so much flows. There are literally nuanced sonic universes contained here, all of them subtle, all of them uncoiling with elegance and steamy tension; they give way to a release that is unmentionably beautiful and seductively sinister.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek