Review by Wes Martin
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.
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