Monday 22 January 2024



Some love instrumental albums while others are not so keen, we at Desert Psychlist fall into the former camp deriving as much enjoyment from a well delivered chord progression as we do from a powerful voice delivering a well written lyric. For us its all about what is needed at the time of listening, if we want an album that voices our joys or dissatisfactions then we will probably opt for something with vocals, if on the other hand we are looking to be taken out of ourselves and want to hear music that will reflect a mood or a feeling than something instrumental tends to be our go to. UK trio Cracked Machine, Bill Denton (Guitar/synths); Chris Sutton (bass) and Gary Martin (drums) jam instrumental grooves that fall into the latter category, a swirling soaring blend of heavy psych, lysergic post rock and space that inhabits the sort of territories bands like Colour Haze, Causa Sui, Yawning Man and My Brother the Wind have made their home. This year the band release their fourth album "Wormwood" (KozmiK Artifactz) a collection of eight breath-taking soundscapes that will take you to places you didn't know you wanted to go to until you arrived there.

Things begin really well with opening track "Into the Chronosphere", the songs chiming circular guitar motifs, blustering and intricate percussion and deeply delicious bass liquidity give the listener a sense of transportation, a feeling of being taken somewhere but not quite knowing where. "Song of Artemis" follows and if we are using the "journey" analogy then this songs represents that period of a journey where the traveller is settling down and taking stock, the songs constant flitting between calm languidity and lysergic loudness indicative of the excitement and apprehension experienced when venturing into the unknown. "The Glowing Sea" finds our traveller donning his/her suit to step outside the craft and take a look at the vastness of his/her surroundings, the backdrop for this excursion a mix of swirly synth textures and effect laden guitar solos driven by tight drum and bass, the overall effect coming over like a musical meeting between King Buffalo and Øresund Space Collective. "Eiganstate" is up next an intriguing mid tempo space rocker with a bluesy desert rock undercurrent which is then followed by "Return to Anteres" a moody slice of spacious guitar drenched desert rock anchored by superb bass work and driven by restrained but highly effective drumming. Next stop is "Burning Mountain" a song that sees Cracked Machine not only getting a little Floydian but also sees them toying with touches of Ozric Tentacles like ambient prog. Penultimate track "Desert Haze" is the only track on the album we at Desert Psychlist have a slight quibble with, not because it falls short of anything musically but because it desperately seems to want to go to another level but is restrained from going there. Title track "Wormwood" brings things to a close with Cult-like guitar motifs and scorching solos spiralling over and around each other beneath which heavily fuzzed out bass lines lock in with a mixture of solid and fluid drum patterns, a fittingly upbeat finale to what has been one hell of a trip.

Cracked Machine might not be as well known as some of those bands that they share musical territories with but on the strength of "Wormwood" it won't be long before they are. Stunning from its start to its finish "Wormwood" is essential listening not just for those with a soft spot for instrumental music but for those who love music period. 
Check it out ...

© 2024 Frazer Jones

No comments:

Post a Comment