When listening to Machine Translations, you can’t help but think about those bands that take your head and drown you in a sea of music. Bands like Fleet Foxes, The Flaming Lips’ quieter stuff The Middle East…stuff that is just very real. Stuff that was has sheet music accompanying it, and grabs you without even having to hear a lyric. Really, really, fucking beautiful music. Well, that’s the general gist of Machine Translation’s new album.
The songs on The Bright Door quietly shift between translucent and softly spoken anthems, like putting the mice in Modest Mouse. The album opens with one such track, ‘Perfect Door’, a schizophrenic, quietly noisy song that is haphazard, but in a very good way. It doesn’t assault you, it just slides you into a tranquil state. It’s kinda like going over a waterfall, and the moment before the ‘Oh shit, I’m going to die’ sets in, you get hit with a strange sense of calm. However, immediately after that, you’re grabbed by a double-whammy of soothing tracks. Although double-whammy feels like the wrong adjective to describe such calming and deep music, its right because these songs are works of art, and should be described as such. ‘You Can’t Give It Back’ and ‘Little Pin’ are like those massive, massive Jackson Pollock paintings. They’re huge and expansive at first sight, but there’s all these little, weedling narratives taking place to make that big picture. Well, if ‘Perfect Door’ was the big picture, then those next two tracks are the intermingling lines that makes up that painting.
‘The Bright Door’ progresses as such from there: exploratory, then drawing back to a succinct and self-assured tone. It gives the album a tidal tone, waves on the beach quietly going in, and out. Have you ever just stared at waves on the shoreline? It is hands down one of the greatest gifts nature has ever given us, and Machine Translations captures that. Now THAT is an impressive feat. Songs like ‘Broken Arrows’, with jilted skewed pop, being followed by the nirvana of ‘Cloudface’, the swooping acoustic harmonies on ‘Needles’, betrayed next by the receding ‘The Bright Door’….it’s these songs that hold such a poignant tone to themselves that make Machine Translations such an irresistible band to listen to.
Although Machine Translations have been out of the spotlight for quite a while, it is with open arms they return with this album. ‘The Bright Door’ is a perfect record to sit down and think to, being introspective to the core. If you’re the kind of person that likes the bands with a sound that penetrates you to your inner being without being all noise and guitar screech, then this will be your perfect record.
‘The Bright Door’ comes out on October 11th on Spunk Records.
Machine Translations are going on tour with Stolen Violin (ex-Middle East) in November. They will be playing a no doubt excellent show on Thursday, 21st of November, at FBi Social.