Shoegaze can come in many different forms, most of which put me to sleep. Even when it’s done well I usually find it pretty easy to tune out and snooze for a while. Fortunately the new tracks from Kent-based group The Machiavellis have plenty going on to keep my interest (and yours). I wasn’t familiar with the band before last week, though I do have some history with Ruben Elbrond-Palmer, as he plays with another artist I’ve covered. They’ve been working their way through the Canterbury scene since 2014, and they’ve got a new EP out this month called Slushy.
“She” is a very shimmery track with a hazy, dreamlike quality. The kind of thing you’d find at the Roadhouse at the end of an episode of Twin Peaks: The Return (think Chromatics or Sharon Van Etten). Megg Rorison’s vocals float over the music, leaving plenty of space for you to get comfy in between the sounds.
The song takes a turn about halfway through with an explosion of guitar. At that point the vocals come down to Earth and the space becomes muddled and feels more urgent and real. It provides a great twist and lets the listener know that you don’t have their music figured out like you think you do.
“Grey Day Machine” is a darker piece. It’s all shadows and whispers, with a quiet take on New Wave sounds (for some reason it reminds me of Kajagoogoo’s “Too Shy”). On this one the vocals are layered in to the music, so when the fuzzy scratches of guitar come in, it completely takes over the song with a disturbing drone.
This one is much shorter than “She,” but it doesn’t lack for impact.