Wednesday 29 August 2012

The Machine - Calmer Than You Are (Album Review)

The Machine is a three piece psychedelic stoner rock band from Rotterdam in The Netherlands. ‘Calmer Than You Are’ (Elektrohasch Records, 2012) is their fourth release, and what an album it is!

In terms of sound, this album is brilliantly experimental and psychedelic whilst managing to retain a great stoner rock feel. Listening to this band, I’m reminded of Queens of the Stone Age, but that’s only a rough guide to their sound for those who’ve never heard The Machine before, as these guys are pretty unique.

Whilst fans of the riff won’t be disappointed with this album, it’s worth pointing out that everything here is pretty ‘effects-laden’ and things can get quite psychedelic and trippy from time to time so if you are more just a straight up stoner rock fan, this might take some time getting used to. That said there’s a great mixture of stuff here and there’s something on this album for everyone.

The great thing about this band is that they don’t stick to the standard stoner rock formula. The chord progressions here are different and exciting and there are some brilliant progressive parts in the music.

Production wise this release is great. Even though the guitars and bass are quite low and fuzzy, they’ve got clarity, something you don’t always get with bands in this genre and it can sometimes detract from an otherwise great riff. The drums and vocals on this record are also nice and clear.

One of the standout tracks on this album is ‘Sphere (…or Kneiter)’. I can honestly say that this track had me truly awestruck. The Machine has essentially created ‘post-stoner rock’ with this track and it’s a masterpiece. The instrumentation here ebbs and flows like some sort of strange psychedelic tide, conjuring up some brilliant images of weird distant lands.

‘5&4’ is another killer track. This is probably the least psychedelic track on the album but it’s got a killer riff that makes it a great song in its own right. The song takes quite a regimented structure compared to some of the tracks on the album, but it’s that which makes it a great tune to split up all the psychedelic madness.

The last track, ‘Trailor’ is like a summation of every song that’s gone before it. It’s a really strange idea, but it works really well and it makes you want to go and listen to the whole album over again.

Basically, if you’re into your psychedelic rock, you’re not going to want to miss out on this great release.