By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
Genre tags are reductive, absurd and generally misleading, so we'll skip trying to pigeonhole Machree. The sextet takes the six-stringed dexterity of metal, the constantly shifting tempos of math-rock and the reverb-laden meandering favored by space-rock/Radiohead acolytes and ties it all together with to-the-hilt vocals. It's not exactly groundbreaking, but the band knows how to play to its strengths with well-constructed songs. While many bands of its ilk try to cram in as many power chords and drum fills as possible, Machree knows the power of white space and leaves room for the songs to expand and contract. "P Crusher" is a fine example of this technique: The song begins with a maelstrom of spidery guitar licks and thunderous crash cymbals, but every so often a shimmering keyboard line or echoing guitar note is allowed to resolve itself and evaporate into the ether. The next track, "Thalassa," uses the same technique by letting a lush electric piano carry the melody, underpinning the high-necked guitar runs with ethereal ambience.
This mix of hard and soft is the right setting for singer Patrick Baum, who has the chops to hit his upper range without dropping notes — his voice neither wusses out (like so many emo screamers) nor relies on guttural growls (like so many metal dudes). That said, he does one thing and does it well — plays it cool in the verses, hits the ramp for the chorus and holds the note for as long as he can. It's a good move, but even on a seven-song, 26-minute EP, one wishes for a little more variation on the form.
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