A review of Less Than Expected‘s album, “This Machine Kills Scenes”.
By Sam Hathy
I have the unique privilege of seeing the evolution of a band’s sound from hearing their demos to be followed by the creation of the album polished up and mixed in a chaotic fragmentary way that seems to take lessons from postmodern artists like William S Burroughs and grunge and hardcore punk bands around the 90s. Less Than Expected’s This Machine Kills Scenes is a delightful collage of musical abstract anarchy.
The opening track “Retrogression” opens with a spoken-word piece and built up musical noisescapes that go on the attack against the signals surrounding themselves and how the mind interprets them
trailing into an extremely, contagious, hooky, and catchy pop punkish grunge tune, “Short Term Memories” carries much the same themes of the opening track
“Bi-Polar Opposites” begins more subdued but then suddenly for the name of the song reflects the sound progression the unit pulls into overdrive into an aggressive assault to pull off into a dynamic reminiscent of Nirvana’s soft and heavy sounds
On deck is a cover song of Nirvana’s premier debut record Bleach, the grunge banger, “Scoff” about a song clearly about alcohol abuse with the chorus “gimme back my alcohol”
leading into the softer but heavy “Deadly Combination” about all kinds of abuse falling through with the themes of the track before with less chaos
pulling us into the center of the album and a feeling of rebirth in “Title Track” or “This Machine Kills Scenes” in where a wave of sound and a message about seemingly about finding a voice outside all the outside noise and with some interesting production mixing that reminds one of a car’s ignition shutting down and starting up again
dropping down into “Suicide And Other Empty Promises” we get what sounds to be a story of an incredibly toxic relationship with a manipulative individual
on into a nightmarish sludgy and atmospheric, yet also aggressively punchy and surprisingly hooky track called “Old Pain”
pulling up off of that into a highly energetic hardcore punk tune, “FauxCD” delivering a frantic freight train of sound
into more of spoken word from William Burroughs into the most overtly political song on the album in “And The Hippos Boiled In Their Tanks” the title coming from a collaborative novel written by Jack Kerouac and William S Burroughs. The messages within reflect a society neglecting people in society who need support, media manipulation, impatience with the left, and speaking of the horrors of the right, fighting against a spectrum of focus limited by a bureaucratic state and wealthy elite …(or at least that is how I interpret the lyrics)
regressing into a quieter and dark tune surrounded by rainstorm sounds, cello, and using a steel guitar in “Tilt-Shift”
followed and concluded by a love letter to pedalboard effects and punk rock in “SuperFuzz/Big Muff” with a secret song trailing it.
If this review makes this album sound interesting you can stream them on Spotify, download them digitally, or purchase a physical copy at a local record store. The record is also available on multiple other streaming services and youtube. If you’d like to find more about the band, upcoming shows, releases or follow them on social media, you can follow the link below.
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