Stefan Parrott, Jared Levy, Lee Schaffer and Caedmon Cooper are Sound Machine. The band started as a senior project and eventually they would come to release ...and From the Darkness,. The songs on this album feel almost random. They experiment with different genres which leaves you unable to associate the band with any kind of sound that defines them. This is a very common issue you see with young bands.
They open with “2070” which is a dark, ambient piece. It sounds like something you might hear off something like Selected Ambient Works volume II from Aphex Twin. It revolves around a couple of pads. I liked the piece but it's not indicative of what's to come including the next song “I (Nostalgia)” which is an acoustic guitar driven ambient piece. There are two vocalists here. The first vocalist to sing has an easier time staying in key. I have to say it’s a bit odd hearing a guy who just graduated high school being nostalgic about being a kid. All things considered the song is decently written with some catchy vocals.
In another genre jump the band launches into “Change” which is the best song on the album. I liked the groove here and the synth bass. The song eventually breaks into an overwhelming explosion of white noise. This was one of the most original sounding songs on the album and I hope to hear more like this in the future.
Up next is “Castaway” which is twelve-minutes long. The song goes on and on with a couple of jam sessions that could have been scaled back. As with the other songs there are some inspired moments along the way.
They hit a peak with “II (Her).” There is some good vocal work and guitar reminiscent of something you might hear from Led Zeppelin. For the first three minutes of “Paranoia” it sounds like the band is getting ready for a rehearsal with some whispering in the background. Then you have a nine-minute piano piece “Finale” which displays some technical talent.
I will say this band has some talent but they are also falling into the traps you commonly see with bands that haven’t been around for a very long time. This album is almost sixty minutes and a number of these songs could have easily been trimmed down with some fat removed. It’s often fun for a band to experiment with disparate genres but often confusing for the audience. Most people are looking for something that aligns the songs and identifies what it is they like about the band. It’s not easy to do that with this album.
Overall, the band displays some talent in the songwriting department and often had good delivery. They still have some work to do so let’s see where they are at with their next release.
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