Friday, 1 February 2013

Stone Machine Electric - ST (album review)

Stone Machine Electric have been hanging around the outskirts of the underground stoner doom scene for a couple years now, refining, polishing and honing their skills.  The time has finally come for the duo of Dub (guitars, vocals) and Kitchens (drums) to unleash their helping of Texas psychedelic blues upon the world at large (the sheer physical presence of the band has grown by as much as 33% since the recording of this album to include Mark Cook [bass] in early December!).  It should be noted early that the album was recorded and mixed by Kent Stump of Wo Fat as his fingerprints seem to be all over this album.

Guitar wanders in and out of the general mix, free to roam like a hippie child.  Ideas and sketchy moments abound creating a full and busy atmosphere.  Structures are fluid and complex rarely settling in to anything one would recognize as habitable. Opening track "Mushroom Cloud" sets the table with a song structure that could only have resulted from the decimation of such a blast as the song's subject.  Empty, eerie and expansive wastelands of wah bass dominate the landscape from horizon to horizon, the largely instrumental song bookended by verses.  Stone Machine Electric like to jam and explore, leading one to believe that they must write their music in the same way Stump & co. do in Wo Fat, by endless jamming, adding pieces here and there until the results are satisfying.  But that's pure speculation.  As the line from "Hypocrite Christ" goes: "I have suspicions of what you call truth / Without proof you're selling lies".

The warm and thick tones of Dub's guitar and the full pounding and resonant crashes of Kitchens' kit give this release that swampy funk feeling, reminiscent of Mr. Stump's aforementioned trio.  Texas feelings abound, but it's a different musical state altogether.  A post-apocalyptic vision of crumbling towers and kipple-littered streets and survivors locked in a deadly battle for resources and philosophical / spiritual higher ground.

From jump street, as they (used to) say, it's obvious that Stone Machine Electric want to try new things, do things just a little differently, while still respecting their chosen genre(s).  I doubt very much that a lot of bands would have the courage to open their album with a song like "Mushroom Cloud" because it's very much a "this is what we're about, if you don't like what we're doing here, you might as well just tune out now" kind of song to open with with it's desolate landscape of extended jams and cyclopean rampart-like structure.  But all the bumps and curves are in the right places, the instruments are pure and true, thick, heavy and pulsing with real life, the effects are not used gratuitously but are like a gateway to other sonic dimensions.

'Stone Machine Electric' is one of those albums that only get better and more rewarding with each successive listen.  As layers are pulled away, deeper ones are revealed.  There's no shortage of highlight material here as regards individual songs, but the album is more properly ingested as a full on feast rather than taking the songs on as hearty snacks.

Highlights include: "Hypocrite Christ" and "No/w/here"

Rating: 4.5/5

Total Run Time: 39:18

From: Arlington, Texas

Genre: Doom, Psychedelic, Stoner, Blues

Reminds me of: Spider KittenWo Fat

Release Date: January 11, 2013

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Cut the barbwire, hop the fence and commandeer the adjacent office tower.

Better Reviews:
The Obelisk

The Obelisk Interview

Stone Machine Electric on facebook


  1. Sweet review man. Really dig your writing style. Don't know what that says, because I'm not much of a reader writer, more of a listener. "Guitar wanders in and out of the general mix, free to roam like a hippy child." Ha, perfect analogy. Anyway, checking this out now. Great blog, and I frequent all the normals, definitely becoming one of my favorites.

    1. It's good to know that people are really reading these reviews because I put a lot into them. Thanks, Bucky.


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