Machinista have returned with third album ‘Anthropocene’.
Billed as a dark pop journey, it certainly ticks a lot of the pop boxes along it’s way. Catchy hooks, big choruses and a certain head nodding charm that keeps the listener entertained.
Any release hovering around this genre is always going to attract comparisons to the heavy weights of the genre, which you will notice I am deliberately avoiding in this sentence, but luckily vocal duties by John Lindqwister has managed to set themselves apart from their contemporaries and influences with a subtle yet powerful vocal delivery throughout the album.
A fast and punchy start to the album does make you think if this is as pop as they claimed, but the strong opener gives way to a more well rounded pop approach almost immediately. Track 3, ‘Angel’, is where the album really start to show some great song writing. The strength in Machinista’s music lies in their grass roots song writing, well constructed, never boring and finished off with excellent production. Which sadly is a little lost in the faster numbers for me, although they will no doubt be absolute bangers on the live stage.
This superb song writing continues into ‘Black Tide’ and ‘Astrid’, the latter of which has a lovely 80’s goth tinge to it and is the stand out song on the album. Producer Richard Flow clearly knows his way around a studio and his musical tools. The production and instrumentation throughout this album really is well executed with some spectacular moments, although it does occasionally stray into repetitive ground with the synth work.
The ambitious ‘Universe Is Here’ highlights that this duo could go very far indeed. I found myself singing along to the chorus even on the first listen, which is no easy feat, as I hate most things. Given the right platform and making the right tactical choices with Machinista they could easily occupy a very big stage and be major contenders in the scene.
I wasn’t expecting a Beatles cover at the end to be honest, it’s a ballsy move.
Overall this album has all the elements of a great record. It fell ever so short of being perfectly presented, with a few minor missed shots. However, this could very well be a band on the way to greatness.