I know. Its been a while since I have written, nay – composed – an article for The Black Flag and for that I apologise dear reader. However, normal service has resumed and wallop (what an under used word that really is!) I am straight into some down and dirty, classic punk.
With a self-entitled album released in 2011 some would argue the Flag are slightly late in reviewing The Machines and their first and only (to date) album. It’s a ‘fair cop guv’ but with a band that has been around since 1977 which have only just released their debut full length album clearly doing things in a timely manner isn’t a pressing issue for this band…..and when you’re a punk band why would it be?
Hailing from Essex (co-incidentally where I am from) and specifically, Southend – on – sea (not where I am from in case you were wondering), the band were formed in 1977 with acts like The Ramones and The Clash serving as the inspiration for this three piece to pick up their instruments and get out into the gigging world. After a few years of some fairly constant gigging and writing their own material the band split. It would not be until the 2000’s that the band would undergo a rebirth with Nick Paul – the only remaining original member – recruiting into The Machine fold two new band mates to give it another ‘go’.
‘The Machines’ is a 16 track album and reflects the bands original influences, never really veering away from the tried and tested punk formula of keeping songs ‘short and dirty sweet’. The musicianship is average and the vocals never really display the aggression or really, the genuine feeling that is associated with the genre. I think the overriding weaknesses are the lyrics though. I appreciate it’s a punk album and so I am not expecting Shakespeare but constant repetition of the chorus in a two-three minute burst of guitars and drums doesn’t make it punk. I had a hard time distinguishing between the songs; I am loathed to say they sound all the same but certainly without the song list in front of me I wouldn’t be able to individually name them.
They say the punk spirit never dies and once a punk, always a punk. I think that’s hugely commendable and for a band that first started life in 1977 to still be gigging and giving it their all is something many other bands could do with learning from. However for this reviewer, this album won’t be on his stereo in another thirty-five years…. or minutes.
Words: Brian McKay