Friday 9 November 2012

Family Machine - Skeletons And That

Somehow, unintentionally, I have found myself listening to (and commenting on) the output of bands from Oxford. ToLiesel, Message To Bears, Perfect Fiction: they all hail from the city of dreaming spires, which also just happens to be the place I was born. I've stepped from one to the other via links between them so it  was inevitable that they'd all be from the same area, and Oxford has an excellent musical history, so I could do a lot worse than focus my attentions there. Thus I have no qualms in mentioning Family Machine's acoustic/indie-pop.

It's been four years since their LP was released, "You Are Family Machine", but they have kept their audience interested since then by releasing the occasional single track. 'Sleep' was short but unwaveringly sublime. 'Quiet As A Mouse' kidnapped We Aeronaut's Anna Log for some sweet vocal work. And, on October 31st, they released a new free download: 'Skeletons And That'.

Although the lyrics do talk of ghosts, monsters, and skeletons, the link to Halloween ends there - this is not a song of thrills and horrors. No. This is a song of loss, growing up, and regret. Whilst certainly mournful, the vocal delivery is so beautifully sincere and the instruments so softly bridled, you can't help but think that there's an adjacent joy being expressed at the existence of memories. As the guitar strums the final chord, it is clear that Family Machine weren't trying to throw us head-first through three-and-a-half minutes of forced forlesing; rather, they were nudging us gently with an acceptance of loss and grief. Through subtlety this band have achieved more in a single acoustic song than some do on an entire album of angst-ridden blues.

"Love is like a violin. The music may stop now and then, but the strings remain forever." - June Masters Bacher

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