MASCHINE – Rubidium [Extra Tracks] (2013)
I had the opportunity to come across some excellent Prog albums in the last couple of weeks, one of them being “Rubidium” by young British quintet MASCHINE. The band was developed several years ago by guitarist & singer Luke Machin at the Brighton Institute Of Modern Music.
Machin along with bassist Daniel Mash earned their progressive rock chops while serving several with prog titans The Tangent. Actually, it was Tangent’s Andy Tillison who gave the band the push to release “Rubidium”, Maschine’s debut album.
And what a delicious debut.
From the beginning, listening to “The Fallen” you’ll discover that these guys are quite talented and creative. It starts with some mysterious keyboards but soon changes in temperament with heavy crunchy riffage lightened by nice synthesizer and guitar solos. A tight composition that falls completely in the classic melodic progressive rock genre, as does the entire album.
“Rubidium” is the second track, and I’m not at the end of my surprises. Features that heavy groove again but darker, at times atmospheric, where we can appreciate the use of many custom elements in Machin’s singing.
The constant quest by Maschine in the material to surprise the listener continues with “Cubixstro”, taking you to a new and different sphere, almost flirtatious. Looks like the entire group has all changed. The strong point of this third track in my opinion is the voice of Machin but also Lewis behind her keyboards without forgetting the bass stanceby not following the guitars and making his own path. The song ends with a quiet way with Electro influences, it was unexpected but very well done also.
Curiously, “Invincible”, in contrast to the name, also sheds some of the heaviness for more playfulness adding acoustic guitars to the mix. The second part of the song marks a change to operating more on the technical side of the electric guitars and Machin has one his liveliest guitar solos within while the poetic lyrics are another strong point on this cut.
“Venga” may be the one song that is less prog and more straight hard rock, yet elements of technicality remain. The male / female duo of Machin / Lewis on vocals leaves a special impression, and which marked this fifth track is the return of the distortions on the guitars with more attack.
Next, “Eyes Pt. 1” begins perfectly with very progressive passages, and this is almost a prog metal number with an aggressive mood that is felt from the start. But still there’s a place to surprise, with acoustic guitars another time. “Eyes Pt. 2” seems to be a sequel, but much more edgy with some atmospheres recalling Dream Theater. There’s a marriage between technicality, melody and progressivity, a song that has given way to instruments more than anything.
This ‘Extra Tracks’ version of the CD comes with two bonus tracks; “Chains” and “Reach Out”, the former with a smooth mellow movement, the latter bouncy and quick at times. Another interesting element is the character of Machin’s colorful vocalizations. While forward, it’s never forceful having this strange inherent gentleness at times.
“Rubidium” is a fantastic first effort for Maschine, an album of creative and entertaining music with a well travelled sound where aspects of European Prog from the likes of Italy and France rushes headlong into a US fashion. While there is a huge helping of traditional progressive values, the one thing this band do not sound like is exactly what they are; English.
However that leaves the quintet with the scope to use a broad and pleasantly unusual blueprint to create music that while keen and willing to reveal influences and common bonds, is reassuringly difficult to actually pin-down for a band to band comparison. Which is rather smart.
A very Recommended piece of music.
01 – The Fallen
02 – Rubidium
03 – Cubixstro
04 – Invincible
05 – Venga
06 – Eyes Pt.1
07 – Eyes Pt.2
08 – Chains (bonus track)
09 – Reach Out (bonus track)
Luke Machin (ex- The Tangent) – guitar, vocals
Elliott Fuller – guitar
Georgia Lewis – keyboards, vocals
Daniel Mash (ex- The Tangent) – bass
James Stewart – drums
BUY IT !