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  s/t
Artist: Tammany Hall Machine
Label: Independent
Length: 11 tracks/43.00

Indeed, the Tammany Hall Machine is an eclectic bunch.

To say the least the music gets very strange. Disturbingly, the more odd it gets, the more <i>Tammany Hall Machine</I> draws in the listener. By the time the last and strangest song rolls by, THM has knocked you flat on your back as the referee in the ring screams "321!" Don't fret, it's too late. You've been sucked (or KO'd) into permanent fanship of this pleasantly unpleasant group. You are part of the Machine.

The Tammany Hall Machine hails from Texas, a state whose deep roots in both country and southern rock have undoubtedly affected the music captured in their first offering. But beware, this record messes with your head. Before buying <I>THM,</I> take into consideration the side affects. One is serious musical jet lag. These guys got stuck somewhere between 60's psychedelia and the weird alternative rock of the late 90's. The resulting confusion morphs into intense love, despicable hate, or a strong urge to vomit, wherein lies its impact.

Featured on the album are a number of instruments. Irritatingly enough, frontman Joel Mullins incorporates ukulele into the brief final track, "Lovesick." Don't be mislead now into thinking of THM as players of traditional Hawaiian music; this merely demonstrates their versatility in arrangement. Use of electric and acoustic pianos and organs help to illustrate a surrounding of early 60's popular music, brought to life in a clean 21st century production.

THM greedily reels in unsuspecting music fans using tunes like "Factory Light," "Animal," and "Happy Birthday LSD" as bait. The way the group manages to seamlessly blend country, psychadelia, and blues into some type of crazy new genre is commendable. Most influences can be picked out right away: The Beatles, The Cars, The Kinks (all the "The" bands), etc. However, the biggest musical comparison this reviewer can combobulate is The Doors' early period. The voice of Joel Mullins, especially, is Morrison-like in its tone and subtle wild side. Take special care to listen to the bass lines of Mick Southerland throughout the album; they are very stylistically unique, impressive, and yet discreet. Indeed, there is a great Mick behind every great band.

Production wise, THM gets an A+. The sound of the drums, in particular the snare, is pivotal to modern music production. The snare of Jonathan Kollar is sparse, with no effects, just the pure, natural sound of the kit. The guitars are not muddily overdistorted, and the bass levels are right where they should be. Congratulations to the Tammany Hall Machine on a fabulous debut album.

Tom MacMillan  4/30/2005
THE BAKER STREET MUSE


 
 

 

   
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