Having set a striking standard with their Arizona Lights EP barely five months ago, Swedish electro/synth pop band Machinista not only confirm the potency and potential of their sound with debut album Xenoglossy, but expand it with an even more rigorously captivating and enterprisingly inventive persuasion. Consisting of eleven tracks which are as boldly fresh and bred of a modern creative climate as they are seeded in an eighties nostalgia, the album is an irresistible blaze of electronic pop, quite simply persistent bait for body, imagination, and emotions to romp and bask in.
Machinista is the creation of Malmö/Kalmar based pair, vocalist/lyricist John Lindqwister (Cat Rapes Dog,Departementet, Basswood Dollies) and musician Richard Flow (ex.Vision Talk, Haze For Sale). Starting the project in the December of 2012 alongside their other bands, the duo instantly gripped attention and keen responses with a cover of David Bowie´s Heroes, which now closes up the new album. Its success and that of their first self-penned release, the single Molecules And Carbon, both accompanied equally appreciated videos, led to an eager spotlight soaking the band not only from fans but media too. Last year the band signed with the Juggernaut Music Group with the Arizona Lights EP their first release this past March. Recently and really before the dust of fervour around the EP could settle, Xenoglossy was uncaged to as mentioned not only reinforce their opening presence but cast a whole new mesmeric spell on the synth pop scene.
From the opening almost warning prod of first track Take Comfort In Being Sad ears and attention are wide awake breeding a just as immediate appetite. Punchy beats thump their coaxing next before keys relax into a melodic sway around those persistently provocative textures. The equally as tantalising voice of Lindqwister is soon caresses the senses too around that jabbing rhythmic punctuation, the mix of forceful tempting and seductive soothing an enthrallingly magnetic proposition. As the song bounces along thoughts of The Cure, certainly vocally and in the shadowed essences which lurk within the bright sounds, and of A-ha musically make their suggestions. It is a masterful start swiftly matched by Arizona Lights. The second song casts a hazy yet crystalline ambience before eager beats and similarly feisty electronic grooves wrap around ears. As with the first track, and the majority of the album, there is a familiarity to the encounter but a recognisable spicing which only enhances the fun and potency of the offerings. Here a Thomas Dolby/Paul Haig like air makes hints as the song unveils its sparkling revelry.
Its lively presence and heart is followed by an initially more reserved and shadowed suasion through Molecules And Carbon, its first breath holding a melancholic spice before opening up into its own vivacious if still slightly reined in dance. Again it is hard to resist adding comparisons to Robert Smith and co, but it is only an appealing hue in the flowing imagination of Machinista. Though not as striking as its predecessors, the song satisfies a by now greed ridden appetite for the release before letting its outstanding successor, Salvation intrigue and seduce the passions. Sporting the irresistible charm and vibrancy of Landscape and poetic melodies of Zero-Eq, the track soars in elegance and beauty, keys and vocals a glowing smouldering climate to immerse in.
An industrial unpredictability and dark air brings the next up Summersault in to view, the track a stirring protagonist with military bred rhythms and an imposing atmosphere of stark and binding incitement. There is also the most vivid cinematic aspect to the song. Each track has that ability to work with the imagination visually it is fair to say but none as voraciously and enthrallingly as here. With drama clad keys and the ever impressing vocals, the song leaves thoughts reminded of Associates and in an evocative grasp before the equally thrilling Pushing The Angels Astray steps forward to sweep body and emotions to their feet for a perfect slice of synth pop. Melodies and hooks blaze away with harmonic resonance whilst rhythms steer the whole thing into the instinctive eagerness of feet and passions. It is the chorus where you lose self-control though, its contagion as toxic as a sunset and just as colourfully entrancing.
Ensuring that pinnacle is not a lone voice in what are nothing but peaks across Xenoglossy, next track Wasted sways and stomps with tenacious enterprise and pop infused vivacity. Featuring guest vocals from Toril Lindqvist of Alice in Videoland, the track is like a flaming collusion between OMD, Blancmange, and MiXE1, and ridiculously addictive. Maybe not quite as gripping but certainly a flavoursome and resourceful coaxing is Love And Hate Song. It has the unenviable task of following the two previous triumphs and does so with a unfussy and minimalistic march covered in a thick and enticing melodic weave which itself is coated in an unpredictable emotive suggestiveness. It is a gentle yet powerful tempting showing another strain of invention and intelligent variation to the album.
The closing stretch of the release is led by the heated emotion and climate of Crash. It is a strong and thought sparking encounter but lacks the spark of earlier tracks even with its Vangelis like flumes of epically honed melodies. It is also left looking pale sandwiched between the last song and slow burning success of The Blues And The Reds. Holding a feel of Pete Wylie to its provocative caress of electronic sound and floating harmonies, the song takes a while to warm up thoughts and emotions but does so to a lingering success.
Xenoglossy is completed by an excellent version of Heroes, and it is easy to see why the track made such a powerful impact with its band introducing release. The Eno/Bowie penned classic is not dramatically changed but given an insertion of electronic teasing and enterprise which brings new inescapable infectiousness to its charm. It finishes off the album in fine and thrilling style. With the fact that despite the praise it is also one of the weaker tracks on the album, it shows the might and impressive adventure across the whole release. Synth pop is an awakening inspiring genre it seems and it is fair to say that Machinista is destined to be one of its leading lights.
Xenoglossy is available now via Juggernaut Music Group @ http://music.juggernautservices.com/album/xenoglossy
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from