The Machine "Calmer Than You Are" (Elektrohasch Records, 2012)
Here I am writhing in the malaise of a misbegotten day. The morning spent waiting for the cafe across from my apartment complex to open―and let it be known that this is the most haphazardly run cafe I have ever had the misfortune of patronising. As time presses on, I grow more restless, as if my day is crumbling at my feet. First world problems, I know but I have a routine that’s been broken by their complete lack of regard for their regular customers. Anyhow, I peek through the windows of my apartment complex to find that, an hour and a half late, they’ve finally opened, so I ready my writing utensils and prepare myself for a hearty breakfast with much needed coffee.
I walk through the front entrance to find one solitary employee leisurely kicking back, texting away as if there is absolutely nothing to be done in the place. Shrugging it off, I place my order.
“Oh yeah, sorry man. That’s not gonna happen for at least three hours. The oven has to preheat.”
This is one of those circumstances where I think I’d be completely justified in shoving everything off the counter and stomping out the door. Nobody disrupts my morning breakfast routine. Nobody! Nevertheless, my blood reaching a steady simmer, I breathe and step outside for a cigarette. I feel it’s time for some music to calm my nerves, or at least to match their level of agitation. I stumble across The Machine and their ironically titled album Calmer Than You Are. Almost instantly I find my calm, cool, and collect center.
It begins with a crawling guitar that ignites a gentle sitar, end capping the melody. The vocals have a slight wah-wah quality giving a definite psychedelic nod to the beginning portion of this song. But don’t get too comfortable―the guitar explodes into your ear cavities for a solid romp in Rock & Roll paradise. The song moves through various segments and variations that are both noisy and hard rocking before it lets up. These guys definitely take some sick pleasure in playing with the listener’s expectations. The playing is immaculately tight and immeasurably enjoyable.
Their entire album is an exercise in keeping Rock & Roll alive and well with unexpected pleasures in strange lands. Some of it, very reminiscent of Stoner Rock icons like Queens of The Stone Age, Sungrazer (whom they share an EP with) and Kyuss, while much else is inspired by titans of old like Hawkwind and The Groundhogs. But don’t let them get pigeon holed by classification, let them speak for themselves because they won’t be silenced! It’s an ironic exercise in the infinite potential behind Rock & Roll, still plowing well through into the 21st century.
Review made by Hunter Gatherer (The Forgotten West)/2014
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