Down The Machine - Let Me In
Owain Paciuszko 20/02/2011
Kicking off with the title track, this five-track ep from Leeds based rockers has a pretty impressive sound, lead singer Steve Wilson has a strong voice that carries the slightly trite lyrics amiably, whilst his three bandmates create a polished and powerful backdrop. There are hints of everything from Soundgarden to Bon Jovi tucked inside this opener and it's a damn good start to this sophomore release.
Cursing My Name sounds like a heavy James Bond theme in the making with its slinky introductory guitar, before it bursts into an epic, staccato chorus. Meanwhile Slipping Away has a wonderful gurgling bassline from Neil Short, and Wilson's vocal is stretched to breaking point as he howls out the choruses and sneers the verses; to some extent it's a very typical anthemic alt-rocker, but these guys manage to pull it off with confidence and charm that you're more than willing to slow headbang to Matt Collinge's drums or fist-pump the air to Danny Millikin's guitar solo.
'You are the painful afterthought' sings Wilson on No Coming Back, which despite some similarly wry lyrics, is a stumbling block on the ep, deploying similar tricks to other tracks, but by this point of the record they sound weary rather than energised and it represents a slump before the ep's finale.
Gentle acoustic guitar and pensive piano open Dead Inside with Wilson's voice cracked and weak, it's a great shift in tone, and raises expectations for a truly stunning closing song, but rather than build upon this set-up the song just takes a sharp left turn back into heavy rock territory and it's a somewhat disappointing lurch when a gradual ascent may have worked wonderfully. It briefly returns to the maudlin aside before another grand rock climax in which WIlson hollers; 'Throw it away!' over and over, which is a bit ironic considering the potential of this track seemed somewhat squandered.
Three strong tracks tip the scales in their favour, it's a shame the record closes with two slight dissapointments, but there's a great deal of potential even in their misfires.