It was back in 2014 when in a year of striking releases, American progressive/experimental rock band In Progress left their very potent mark with the album North Atlantic Echoes. The band was the creation of Jake Rosenberg and John Dillon and with a host of guests provided one increasingly fascinating and impressive adventure few rivalled at that time in the progressive rock scene. Since then the duo has seemingly been quiet, evading attention but obviously busy as they have returned with a new project in the shape of Desperate Machines and a debut EP which in distinctly different ways has made the same rich impact on our ears and imagination.
As the three tracks making up Complet_ reveals defining the Desperate Machines sound is never going to be a precise exercise with its tapestries and soundscapes of electronic, progressive rock, industrial, atmospheric and experimental essences and textures but an adventure which will keep imaginations busy and hungry if they herald what is to come ahead.
The EP opens up with Complete and as all tracks within the EP sees Kevin Moore (Chroma Key, OSI, ex-Dream Theater) guesting on vocals as well as providing lyrics. From the shadows the song looms up, its industrial breath springing animated beats and the instantly gripping gnarly growl of Dillon’s bass. Just a rush of seconds in and already the song is a web of flavours and textures, every subsequent twist indeed almost each second the gateway into fresh styles and bold imagination as the captivating tones of Moore rise amongst the synth, keys, and guitar enterprise of Rosenberg and Dillon. The gait of the track is funky, its breath dark with a Nine Inch Nails meets Deftones-esque melancholy and every moment as infectious as it is captivating, indeed haunting.
It is an effortlessly magnetic affair but is still slightly eclipsed by the magnificent Our War. Again from the start rhythms provide a manipulative enticement, melodies caressing and adding to the increasing urging of participation from hips and feet. Alongside Moore, Marjorie Boggs Vazquez adds additional guest vocals, further radiance in the mercurial but relentlessly magnetic encounter. As with its predecessor, every moment offers a fresh surprise with each twist as unpredictable in sound and invention as it is irresistible.
The release is completed by the original demo for Plan B, the song which is said to be the spark bringing Desperate Machines to life several years ago. From an industrial underground, a piano teases the imagination with its intimacy and touch, vocals soon alongside bringing similar intimation and fascination. A hint of a scent in both previous songs, the third strongly reminds of eighties band Comsat Angels and like many of that band’s tracks had us drooling in admiration and desire for more.
Though we had not realised it at the time, there was a gap without In Progress which was waiting to be filled. Rosenberg and Dillon have returned to do not only that but occupy many other areas lacking the imagination and sound which Desperate Machines brings with them.
Complet_ is out now @ https://desperatemachines.bandcamp.com/releases
Pete RingMaster 08/01/2020
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