Machineheart – People Change

After a huge hype in 2017 with Cruel World EP being streamed 47 million times, Machineheart present their first full-length. Now it's their time.

From time to time we cross path with some bands already getting hyped. It’s always exciting when we get the chance to watch them getting their way tothe top. One of those bands is Machineheart, a LA-based band formed by Stevie Scott (vocals), Harrison Allen (drums), Carman Kubanda (guitar) and Jake Randle (bass), the quartet released their debut EP Cruel World in 2017 immediately entering to the top choices of the critics. This year of 2019 will be their showtime as they’ve just launched their new album, an 11-track full-length called People Change, and toured with Dreamers and You Me At Six.

The opening track, Who Said, is a mysterious one, instrumentally, exploring exotic sonorities and fantastic melodies, paired with Stevie’s hypnotic vocals. As an opening track, the lyrics couldn’t be more direct: Who Said is a message to anyone who doubts about dreamers and their own achievements, “Who said it’s over now? Who said we don’t know how?”. LP opened and Do You Love follows-up but in a completely different register, more danceable and giving higher importance to the drums and guitar, at the same time the 4-piece band keeps exploring the resources they have building their music as dynamic and strong as they can. Overgrown sounds like a second part to Do You Love in terms of composition but even in this probable similarity, the rhythm is the closure element between both songs as they keep elevating their music. This one is more cinematic, the horns and accelerating drums transport us to a dimension where we haven’t been yet with Machineheart.

And all of a sudden, Overgrown comes to an end in a slow and sustained note, opening the door for their first ballad of the album: People Change shares its name with the album and it’s quite remarkable. The piano and voice intro reminds London Grammar and Lana Del Rey, for instance, and that’s not only melodically, it’s also lyrically “People always change and we’ll never be like we were before” is nostalgic and kind of melancholic, the whole song bring us back to our oldest memories “If they could see us now” puts it all in a sad perspective and slightly makes a bridge for the opening song, where they explain what they’ve already achieved. By the way, we think it’s never enough to say that Stevie’s voice is one of the fresher, sweetest and at the sametime powerful we’ve heard this year so far.

One ballad is enough for Machineheart to recover the breath so straight away they return to the energetic sonorities keeping one single motto: don’t follow any genre, don’t copy any melody. Every song sounds distinct and original and Altar is not different. Probably is the most “radio material” of the record but it never gets as commercial as a single could be, always keeping their indie identity but sounding a bit like 80’s hits, especially in the chorus. The song is a call for help, a shout out loud, expressing emotions usually kept inside when someone’s feeling alone, powerless.

Chained sounds more electronic in the beginning and the indietronic is actually noticeable during the whole song, with vocals more pop-ish and drums more paused creating an organic beat, the melody waves supported by vocal filters and guitar riffs, and as most of the songs, Chained includes an addictive and catchy chorus which we believe you’ll find yourself singing it right after you listen to it the first time. Talking about catchy sonorities, Peace Of Mind is all about that: a song strongly inspired by the folk classics with a huge twist of modernity, the guitar and rhythm couldn’t be more familiar to the fans of this genre but the song is not only that as the arrangement is extremely cinematic, reminding a bit of Woodkid, here and there.

The second moment of the album is closed by Had A Dream, instrumentally similar to the previous one but Harrison’s drums get powerful. Just like the allusive title, the song is about a dream but it sounds almost like a nightmare: it is anxious, and a bit exasperating, giving us a sense of claustrophobia. The lyrics are quite realistic and descriptive but a plot twist comes with the chorus “All my love is for you/I’ll never let you go” changes the sense of the song explaining the meaning (or the intention) of this dream.

The last period of the record presents Lost Time, returning the exotic rhythms and once again exploring different structures. This time reminding Chvrches, the band divides their focus between the rhythm and Stevie’s vocals since it gets as higher as it never was before. The tendency becomes more danceable and pop and Kill A Man sounds like their lo-fi house hymn based on a growing structure. The song goes on and on always getting higher and powerful ending abruptly, giving space for the last song to come. Let You Down is the second ballad and sounds just like a goodbye. A chilled-out version of the rest of the songs, this one permits the band to show their cohesion throughout the whole record.

Machineheart presented a travel within their music and the album works as a solo work of art, showing maturity and dedication for the full construction of their first full-length, it was perfectly imagined and the final result was –we believe- pretty close to their intension. This is another band we’re very proud to meet before their moment and now we can say: this is it, it’s their time.

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