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MACHINES DREAM

Machines Dream

 

Crossover Prog

4.18 | 8 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

JPWOWS
4 stars OLD DOG HEARS NEW TRICKS

Like many of us I got my early musical education at the hands of older siblings and - thankfully for me - a fair slice of classic progressive rock was included. And I lived quite happily with bands like Rush et al over many contented years. Until. The Internet gave me access to new artists and new ways for me to hear their music.

It was during one surfing expedition that I found myself listening to this album. I was intrigued by the artist name with its connotations (for me) of Philip K Dick/Blade Runner. I am sure that there are many other strange reasons to start listening to any band!

And I'm glad that I did for this is an excellent debut album by a set of very accomplished musicians.

Album opener Boundaries has a brief almost Eastern opening before the guitarist starts with some shred riffing. The vocals come in fairly quickly and tell a wistful tale of memories before a very uplifting chorus break. Overall, though, it is quite a heavy track that offers a lot of promise for what is to come.

This is followed by a killer track in Toronto Skyline which seems to be about the real sense of alienation in a large city. After some intro vocals there is an explosive guitar solo underpinned by nice keyboards. The lyricist excels himself in this song and perfectly tells a tale that will be familiar to many of us. The last 1/3 of the song is the lead guitar player letting rip with some lyrical playing - I just loved where it took me - reminded me in places of Steve Rothery.

Track 3 London By Night follows a similar theme - another city, another lost soul. There is an FM feel to this and I imagine it would sound very good on a radio station. Once again the latter part of the song has some nice psychedelic guitar playing to close things out.

The next track Unarmed At Sea feels very much like the centre piece and is probably the most cohesive song on this album. There is a dramatic keyboard-led opening before the vocalist begins his plaintive tale of being alone in some desolate place with rotting boardwalks. Things do take a heavy turn mid-way through with another great guitar solo that reminded me of Neil Young in rock out Crazy Horse mode. The keyboards dominate the end of the song and you feel it is going to end quietly until the guitarist reminds you that he is still there!

One of the two 'long' songs on the album is next. Mad For All Seasons reminded me of Garden Party by Marillion and has a stomping riff to get some prog dancing going. The middle section quietens a little with some guitar/keyboards interplay before the vocalist starts to get a heavy groove on again encouraging the rest of the band to show their rockier side.

Song 6 Waiting For Miracles is a straight ahead rocker with some of the best vocals on the album and more great soloing from the guitarist. Less of a classic progressive feel, but none the worse for it.

Quiet keyboards introduce Locust before the guitars announce themselves. The overall feel of the song is quite psychedelic throughout though there are some great power chords to remind you that these guys are not totally laid back!

Colder Rain returns to full blown classical prog with guitars/keys underpinned by some tub thumping drumming to start before quickly slowing down to some atmospheric vocals with understated backing. The sound levels are then cranked up again and I found myself shaking my head to the crazy Moog (?) solo around the mid point. The guitar then joins in with the motif - some excellent drumming behind this section - before wandering off on a solo journey. Things are brought down several levels where I started to imagine the colder rain on some dark street as I made my way home from a night out.

Penultimate track Everybody Says Goodbye has that recurring psychedelic theme in its opening musically. The lyrics repeat the lost/alone feel of other tracks. I did feel that this was a weak track given what had gone before. I hesitate to say 'filler' but it had that feel about it and probably cost the review a star.

The longest song closes the album. The Session starts off with some vocal soundbites before the guitarist pops up to say hello everybody with a cracking riff. I imagined the band all wigging out behind him as he goes headbanging crazy with his axe. The keys come in to provide a wandering lead line behind the vocals telling a further tale of leaving/emptiness. What follows is quite an eclectic mixture - Moog (?) solo, shredding, crashing drums, quiet acoustic plucking, even the bass comes to the fore - before the song/albums winds down to one last thought:

"I'm afraid of everything."

That's the closing line! Well the vocalist may well be, but fans of great music have nothing to fear from this album.

JPWOWS | 4/5 |

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