Friday, 31 May 2019

The New Machinista Album "Anthropocene" Reviewed

Machinista are a dark electronic pop duo based in Sweden, consisting of Richard Flow (music) and John Lindqwister (vocalist/lyric writer).

Machinista Promo Photo by Jörg Seiche

I was fortunate to pretty much discover them at the start of their music journey, when they released the "Arizona Lights" EP at the back end of 2013, early 2014, since then they have gone from strength to strength.

Their stunning album "Xenoglossy", released in 2014 was warmly received and featured tracks such as, Molecules And Carbon", "Salvation", "Pushing The Angels Astray" and of course "Arizona Lights", as well as, a spectacular cover version, of the David Bowie track, "Heroes" (The bands first ever recording).

The album was released on the Juggernaut Music Group label.

In 2015 the band signed to the Manchester based independent label Analogue Trash and released their second album "Garmonbozia", equally as impressive as their debut album, with powerful tracks, such as, "Picture Frame Eternity", "Dark Heart Of Me", "Surprised By Death" and "We Are Rockets". In what proved to be a very busy year for the band they also re-released "Xenoglossy", as a double album, featuring a set of remixes, again released on the Analogue Trash record Label.

In 2016 the band changed record labels and moved over to the Infacted Recordings label in Germany, this move prompted 2 singles being released, one, "Pain Of Every Day" on the Analogue Trash Label and a second single, "Seconds Minutes Hours" on their new label, Infacted Recordings.

Two further singles were released as a taster for the new album "Anthropocene", "Let Darkness In", in 2017 and "Black Tide", in 2018.

And now we have the eagerly awaited third album "Anthropocene".......

To open proceedings we have the single "Seconds Minutes Hours", crunching guitars, a hypnotic bassline and the dark synth backdrop, provided by Richard, is a perfect fit for John's vocals, and as you would expect, high quality lyrics, a strength of John's work in the partnership, it has a brilliant melodic chorus, that will certainly be a big favourite amongst their increasing fanbase. A solid start to both the quality of the music and vocals.

"Let Darkness In", continues in a similar vein to the opening track, however, the synth work is more atmospheric and darker, fabulous chorus line again, I really like Richards music on this track, he has a wonderful gift of creating powerful and prominant bass-lines, a key feature in Machinista's work. Outstanding vocal delivery by John once again. A track that fans will undoubtably, have high on their list, for favourite Machinista tracks, it's high on my list!

Next we have a new track "Angel" and what a superb song it is, the bass-line is what dominates the song and I love the sequencer melody line, a more mellow track with a very strong chorus element, I like the use of synth pads, on the second part of the song a piano riff is added to great effect, more piano as the song develops, which is outstanding, good use of guitar, following the bass elements, this is a bloody good track, fantastic! The harmony vocal at the end is genius.

"Black Tide" highlights John's vocal strengths, he puts emotion into his voice, musically very strong too, I again like the use of piano, as it works really well against the electronics, strong pads and impressive melodies throughout this gem of a track, as you would expect it has a strong chorus too.

Following that we have an instrumental piece called "Dream Is Black, Black Is Dream (Interlude)" which sounds very "science fiction" and could very easily be a soundtrack piece for a film, strong drums and synth leads.

"Astrid" also boasts a strong rhythm section and soundtrack strings, which are beautifully arranged. This is the ballad on the album and is outstanding, again Richard has excelled with the music he has created for this song, it reminded me a little of Joy Division, in parts. Achingly beautiful vocals by John. This is epic on a grand scale, without doubt one of, if not, the best track on the album for me, perfection.

"Universe Is Here" packs more of a punch, with its imposing synth bass-line and a chorus that fans will love, Richard has a wonderful ear for music, the way he mixes different sounds is truly impressive, a track that could very easily have been written, in the early days of Machnista. I like the different layers in this track, and it is more minimal than some of the rest of the tracks on the album, but that doesn't affect the quality of the song.

One of the first songs written for this album was "Pain Of Every Day", that was released as a single in 2016 and has all the ingredients you would expect from a Machinista track, powerful sound, strong vocal delivery, dark synthpop, the perfect choice for a single, I like the way guitar is used on some of their tracks, not imposing, but plays an important part, alongside the bass and chord structures.

Next up we have "The Scare (Version)", a song in which John meanders his lyrics effectively, you always feel he tells a story, with his style of lyric writing. Another example of a mighty fine chorus, I like the choir sounds used, as they add to the atmospherics of the song. Great use of guitar again alongside Richards synth work.

The title track "Anthropocene" follows next, a fantastic melodic intro, light choirs a very nice touch, it builds up really well, the synth melody line is very effective, similar to the way that the melody in "Dark Heart Of Me" controlled that particular track, it does on this one. Hypnotic and haunting are the two words that best describe this song.

And so we come to the closing track "Across The Universe", a cover of The Beatles track, superb pad sounds and wonderfully executed sequencer parts, the chorus is quite unexpected, wow! grabs you immediately, Richard's music and John's vocals are in perfect harmony here, lots of emotion in the chorus, the synth break is just perfection, sometimes you just have to sit back and admire a stunning piece of work and my god this track has that effect on you, fans are in for an unexpected surprise when they hear this awesome take on a Beatles track.

Three albums in and this duo show no signs of a drop in quality, quite a remarkable achievement, this is such an enjoyable listen from start to end, many twists and turns, and without doubt, their fanbase is going to love this album, what you have here is two guys that are masters of their craft, the musicianship of Richard is as good as ever and John continues to produce such brilliant vocal performances.

A faultless album 10/10

"Anthropocene" is released on June 7th on Infacted Recordings and is available from Bandcamp here:

The CD edition is available from Poponaut here:

The 2CD edition of "Xenoglossy" is available on CD and Digital Download from Bandcamp here:

"Garmonbozia" is also available on CD and Digital Download from Bandcamp here:

Visit the bands homepage here:

Machinista are on Facebook here:

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