Electric Free Time Machine -‘Mystery with Hermit Foil’ – CD review and Album Launch

Review by Wes Martin

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Electric Free Time Machine is a group of musicians with a truly eclectic sound. If we talk about genre defying, then this is the CD. Its a collection of stunning, inventive and captivating pieces. An album with a troubled dual identity, but that troublesome relationship, like all creative partnerships, produces things far beyond the sum of its parts.

The opener ‘blue box’ stamps a beautifully taut acoustic riff against an ambient backdrop, communicating somewhat, the content of the album. The tension builds as the bass begins to mirror the main riff eventually fading to an echoing black. Track two, ‘Heroin Pie’, signals the trademark bass guitar inflexions, the Primus chug, the sparse, post-funk flunkery. Dirty Waits like vocals rip a ragged path through the undergrowth, wicked. Its one side of the discourse that EFTM have established here and in their live shows. Heavy, hard assed sub metal blues/jazz/krautrock madness mixing it, face on, with stripped down acoustic wizardry .’Optimus Prime‘ takes up similar sonic threads, with a mellower, more psyched out edge. Sandwiched between these two, ’30 Days’ is a real, gorgeous gem. Naked, bone crunching acoustic guitar, banjo and percussion thunder an authentic delta blues stomper straight down the aural highway man. ‘Dog in the Wood’ is an unlikely companion piece to this. A repetitive mantra, griot style musing on a singularly fevered theme. W.Y.M.P.H sets up harsh, esoteric musical themes punctuated with awesome, creative percussion, pinned down with the accuracy of the atomic clock….fabulous. ‘Bite the hand’ strips the prettiness from such tracks and presents a tune of such offensive joy its hard not to imagine the glee one could derive from casually playing it say, to the in-laws. One could offer ‘Big Think’ as an antidote however. Acoustic guitar arpeggios crawl through a torrent of white noise to dance exotically with a joyous bass and a tableaux of enticing, spatial guitar riffs. Wondrous, quite unsettling and more than a nod to the source and great provider that is the ‘big think’…..Pancosmic !!

As the album thunders into its second half the tone and colour both musically and lyrically begin to evolve into an altogether different animal. The peaking rush and glare of this trip begins to mellow into a forest of whaa funked bass, joyous percussion and surreal lyrical banter of ‘Serotonin’ through to the hilarious, dissonant and quite brilliant ‘Onion’ a finer set of lyrics you will find nowhere. Just as you thought it was safe to emerge bleary eyed into the morning sun, ‘meet your eyes’ fittingly drags you back into the troubled fringes of a troubled mind with mashed up bass riffs and percussive chatter designed to subtly remind you that this is an album crafted to challenge you, to keep you on the edge. Its a good job too, as ‘for free’ is a song of such melancholic beauty, its hard to imagine a finer song. Its faltering vocal delivering heartbreaking lines that play against the simple acoustic and distant mournful electric guitars. The lyrics are acutely northern and deadpan, or maybe that’s the way I like to hear things. This song is set cleverly at the penultimate moment, the comedown before the troubled auf wiedersehen of ‘teethmarks’, a song that releases us from the sometimes teeth grinding and sometimes sublimely beautiful ride that is ‘Mystery with Hermit Foil’. Its an album of complexity and simplicity, of light and (very) dark. Its utterly engaging and takes you on a ride through a rich and diverse landscape. If you have an ounce of musical integrity go and buy this. Go and buy this and listen, loud, without fear.

BANNERLAUNCH

Friday 3rd July ’09 sees a full, live ‘Album Launch’ set at the Yorkshire House Lancaster from Electric Free Time Machine, support from Sam and the Plants, Dan Haywood and Voytek the Bear. I’m told that a special embossed digipack edition of the album will be available at ultra discounted, ‘on the night’ prices….Its gonna be awesome, look here for full details http://www.myspace.com/eftm or facebook http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/event.php?eid=95418091451&ref=nf

12 Responses

  1. Good review Wes, you’ll have to do me a copy of the album. Tho’ I might pop along to their launch night.

  2. Cheers Reza, really did enjoy listening. The CD will be available for £4 I believe, entry £1…..

  3. A genuinely supportive review that will clearly indicate to the reader whether they want the album or not without ripping into it or failing to resist an “if I had to make one criticism…” caveat.

    Who’d have thought it possible?

    If I hadn’t already drunkenly promised to buy this record from its beardy cap wearing father, I’d want it now anyway.

    Good job.

    • David, have you read my Ponies review? No negativity in there. Great little album.

    • David: a review that points out the weaknesses as well as strengths is supportive in the long run if it is expressed well and the artists is willing to consider it with honesty too and develop from it. I can point you to examples of a review that pointed out flaws in the ending of a novel so the author actually re-wrote the ending for the second edition.
      A review that is only ever positive is meaningless to readers who have no means of judging where the reviewer is coming from. When X says I didn’t like something because of this or that, I may realise that the same things will actually apeal to me…

  4. Hey Reza, true, totally positive review. Hard to be negative when our local boys n girls keep delivering the goods. Keep on

  5. Mmm, personally I’m only ever moved to review something if it meets one of two highly subjective criteria

    a) its fucking brilliant
    b) it enrages me to such an extent with cliche and mediocrity, that its the only viable non-violent means of expression

    I don’t have the time to waste talking about anything inbetween. So, hopefully anything bearing my name on here falls within these two brackets.

  6. Check out those tendons in Harvey’s neck – that’s passion!🙂

  7. nah, probably Lymes disease🙂

  8. Moll- really wanna review ‘The existance’ album, but as I’m on it……I have been listening a lot and just LOVE it

  9. It’s original, superbly executed and played – brilliant. Can’t think of anything else to say about it!

  10. Cheers all…album is now available from electricfreetimemachine.bigcartel.com

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