The Machismo’s – Share One With A Friend

TM's_RingMasterReview

At times listening to Share One With A Friend, the new album from The Machismo’s, it is hard to decide whether it is a kaleidoscope of its author’s talents and imagination or a bedlam of the same. It is one of the most eclectic and unpredictable escapades you could wish to be confronted with and one of the most inescapably enjoyable.

The album consists of fifteen one of a kind slices of creative exploration and mischief, and the first new songs from the band in eighteen years. Its sound ranges from indie and alternative to punk and noise rock with experimentation at every turn. The band itself probably described their music and release best via their Facebook page where it says they are “Putting the Punk and the Weirdness back into Indie.” with “Now includes added poetry….” as an extra essence. It is a suggestion that they certainly live up to within Share One With A Friend.

The band itself is the brainchild of Sam Marsh, once of the compelling and irresistible Jacob’s Mouse. Initially a solo project, The Machismo’s formed in 1995 and recorded two full albums in Sam’s home cassette portastudio. Recruiting additional members for their live exploits, the band never really exploded into serious action though and disappeared with many recordings put aside unreleased as Sam moved onto other projects. Almost two decades later though, he relooked at those songs and releases that lay awaiting attention and realising their quality and worth, released the 1996 recorded debut album Good Things About To Happen in 2013 whilst also reviving the band with Rachel Marsh and Karly Stebbings. The album was a striking invitation for those of us missing the Bury St Edmunds hailing band first time around to explore, and it seems a spark for Sam himself to push The Machismo’s on with new zeal in what is a very exciting music scene within his home town right now. As mentioned, Share One With A Friend offers the first brand new tracks from the band in a long time whilst equally offering reasons to suggest that The Machismo’s is one of the most compelling propositions within the British music scene, past and present.

The album opens with the warm and fuzzy indie pop of The Loveliest, the song a sizzle of melodic guitar jangle and robust rhythms around the expressive tones of Sam. It has an echo of the tracks within that debut album as a raw and unfussy elegance captivates as potently as the catchy swing of the song. It is a straight forward start, in comparison to things to come, and an alluring one with its additional folkish hues before the unpredictable tango of Vrrrm! takes over. Beats throw their agitated lures all over the place from the start, though finding more restraint as punkish flames of guitar align with the great dual vocal persuasion. The further ears get into it, the more volatile and thrilling things become; all the time a debut album era Squeeze essence adding to the off-kilter indie punk attraction of the song.

cover_RingMasterReviewThe outstanding Collapse To Be Rebuilt grips ears and imagination next with its garage punk infused punk ‘n’ roll. With an addictive swagger as riffs and rogue voices add their unconventional roars, the Iggy Pop meets Pere Ubu like stomp has ears and body bouncing, and an already awoken appetite licking its lips and greedy to indulge in the following dark theatre of Bad Dreams.  Straight away a grumbling static storm crowds and rumbles around vocal poetry as a single slim guitar melody adds its own melancholic emotion to that of the vocals within the thickly compelling piece.

It is hard not to think of Jacob’s Mouse a little as the sultry sway and bewitching climate of When You Know It’s Real seduces ears next, its bulbous rhythmic swing the spine for flirtatious melodic vocals and the percussive imagination making equally irresistible advances within the excellent track. It has a brilliance of presence and fun which is emulated instantly by the punk devilry of Rise Again. Snarling guitars opens up and a flirtatious noir lit hook pushes on the irresistible encounter; the latter swiftly joined by the swinging vocal persuasion which as much as anything urges hips and spirit to get involved. Twanging bass groans, sonic sighs, and ear clipping beats only add to the smile inducing adventure of drooping hopes and their Viagra crafted resurrection; whilst the combined festivity of all creates one of those moments that only lingers.

Through the likes of the muggy aired and sonically bracing Should Recognise and in turn the folkish canter of Plastic Surgery, with Sam again leaning on his poetic craft as much as his musical prowess, band and album surprise and enthral, using the following Belvia to stir up an even stronger hunger with its scuzzy pop punk trespass. It has an old school punk tone to its rapacious character and energy too, a hue which only adds to the dirty and inviting bait rushing through ears.

Post punk meets indie discord is maybe the best description for the ear grabbing, pleasure giving lo fi stroll of Gotcha!, bands like The Three Johns and Swell Maps coming to mind for certain essences of the song. To be fair though, any references are hints to portray the individuality of song and The Machismo’s free and rebellious experiments of sound and imagination which continue to evade expectations with the folk laced croon of A Better Man and the addiction forging shuffle of The Storm. Like The Jazz Butcher meets Mark E. Smith but not, the latter track is manna to ears and passions; the kind of stripped back rock ‘n’ roll with a grin in its heart that all music should be bred from.

The album concludes with the trio of firstly, the melodically salty and slightly Cajun scented However Nice You Are, There’s Always Someone Who Think’s You’re A, the Pixies-esque garage punk rumble of Class A High, and finally the nursery bred and chimed ingenuity of Machismo’s 4 Tha Kids!; all three songs offering yet more fresh twists in the album’s tale to feel stimulated and refreshed by.

The Machismo’s is not exactly a new band but their presence and invention within the album feels like something that is, which of course the album’s songs are.  So if you are looking for the unconventional but something damn good too, then go Share One With A Friend.

Also worth noting as treating yourself with is The Poets Pendulum: Is It Good Or Is It Shit?, an album of Sam Marsh’s poetry which he has been bringing to the band’s live shows for quite a while to eager responses. Both albums are available as Name Your Price Downloads @ https://themachismos.bandcamp.com/album/share-one-with-a-friend with Share One With A Friend also available on very Ltd Ed vinyl.

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Pete RingMaster 21/04/2016

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The Machismo’s – Good Things About To Happen

Sam Marsh portrait by Michael Smith

Sam Marsh portrait by Michael Smith

Earlier this year we were treated to the re-releases of the first EP and album from the mighty under acclaimed early 90s alt-rockers Jacob’s Mouse and now if that was not enough to feast upon, also via Sturm Und Drang Recordings we are being blessed by Good Things About To Happen, the solo album of Bury St Edmunds-based songwriter/producer Sam Marsh, and the vocalist/drummer of said previous band. Under the name The Machismo’s, Marsh started writing and recording around the time of the demise of Jacob’s Mouse in 1995. He recorded two full albums in his home cassette portastudio subsequently whilst assembling a live band to take the music to the masses. It was seemingly not a ‘serious’ intent as Marsh moved onto other projects and the songs and albums were put aside unreleased. Thankfully twenty years on the man re-looked at this work and realising their quality and worth has brought 1996 debut album Good Things About To Happen to the world, a gift to us all with its exceptional songs and invention, the release easily one of the most enjoyable encounters this year.

The Machismo’s is very different to the almost psychotically arranged sounds of Jacob’s Mouse, but like that band the album has a seed of discord brilliance and startling yet thoughtfully composed simplicity that is just riveting and the spring board for thoughts and passions, from him and in us. Also like his previous band, the presence of The Machismo’s is impossible to place just in one box, or at times even find a pigeonhole for. A blend of acoustic and folk caresses placed in an experiment of noise pop and synapse teasing enterprise, the best we can do in description, Good Things About To Happen instantly tells you all you need to know about album and artist with its opening title track, and it has to be said that its seductive sting is instant and lingering.

The first song almost lumbers into view as heavy acoustic riffs and equally weighty rhythms introduce themselves but there is a vibrancya0731346688_10 and energy to it that draws limbs and emotions to their eager feet. Composed and performed by Marsh alone, as is the mixing and production, the song takes a mere breath to impress, the range of guitar tones and vocal invention side by side each other irresistible whilst the dark twang of chords and the almost sinister throaty bass stalking of the senses just delicious. As mentioned discord adds its fingertips to the surface of all aspects too, adding a richer tang to the aural spice that tempts reactions into aural lust. Infectious and hypnotic, the track is a thrilling introduction to something which expectations and hopes came nowhere near in assumption.

The following Macho Theme and Jilt compliment the start potently, even if they miss gripping the opening plateau set by a whisker. The first is a sonic wash of caustic garage rock with punk shadows, guitars slashing across the ear with fire bred intensity and sinew clad rhythms caging senses in an enslaving web of beats and intimidation. Its successor then comes in to slowly swarm over the body with slightly acidic melodic hugs aided by a rhythmic shuffle. As with most songs, Marsh offers a twin vocal attack that is quite riveting and here mesmeric in its charm and persuasion, matching the mix of beauty and cutting invention veining the sounds. With a barbed groove that is rich in familiarity and a melodic toxin, the track is a slow burner that creeps up on and steals the passions over numerous plays. The great thing about the album and emphasised by this track alone, is that the seeming familiarity is so often from songs and bands coming after the writing of the never released album two decades ago, coincidence can be a tease at times.

From the immense start there is another elevation in excellence starting with Down The Drain, the track a sauntering slice of sonically sculpted R&B with the individuality, in not so much sound but unique composition and fusing of discordant fuel and melodic fire, that marks the solo work of Frank Black, and also the contagiousness. There is dark blues sultriness to the track too which brings Black Keys/Jack White essences to bear. After next up Ickworth Park Song, another track which took time to persuade with its noir elegance, Loosen Up strolls down the senses into the heart with its rhythmic trot. Across its stroll the guitar forges a repetitive coaxing that is irresistible whilst the UB40 like prowl of the song carved by the excellent bass lure and dark almost carnivorous second guitar is a blissful counter to the again excellent dreamgaze like vocals of Marsh, though they too have a steel and raw edge.

A pinnacle though it is, Good Things About To Happen only moves on to greater things as surrounding the supremacy of the tautly harmonious New Start and the intriguing Rogue Males, there are the show stealers When You Know It’s Real and The Storm. The first of the two struts with an opening reggae seeded lope of guitar cuts and roaming heavy bass drawl, both ridden by the drifting vocals of Marsh. Teasing upon dubstep, the song evolves into an imagination capturing leisurely drift that has thoughts climbing all over the idea that the song is like World Domination Enterprises and Shriekback playing together under a summer haze with Dalek I Love You and The Gist. It is a glorious amble for the passions easily matched by the final song. The Storm is sheer brilliance, a track which again suggests others though damned if they come to mind within its familiar presence.  Crafted with a virulently addictive heart stroking mesh of repetition, vocal evocation, and rhythmic conjuring, it is a stunning end to an equally majesty release.

We may have unknowingly had to wait a long time to devour creativity of this quality but Good Things About To Happen is now here to make our hearts and the world a better place. Roll on album two.

www.facebook.com/themachismos

9.5/10

RingMaster 04/08/2013

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