Review of The Secret Machines live at Rescue Rooms in Nottingham 11th February 2009.
For some reason things never quite clicked for The Secret Machines. They had all the opportunities; the major support slots (Oasis, Interpol), the radio friendly singles ('Nowhere Again' in particular) and major label backing, and yet they've never managed to get to 'the next level', to break through the barrier of 500 capacity venues and being 'the big show support act'.
Of course, the band are not exactly striving for commercial success. Their recently released self-titled third album burns with the same fuel as previous offerings, slowly
unravelling jams that have the attitude of The Velvet Undergroud or Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and the psychedelica of Pink Floyd or The Warlocks, whichever era you choose to look to.
Many songs pass the five minute mark, yet where on record these extended jams can test the patience live they come into their own, each one a crescendo pushed on by dirty guitars fed through more-and-more distortion and pounding, unrelenting drums. Drummer Josh Garza is an animal, smashing floor toms and cymbals into submission at a staggering, yet always controlled, pace, his hair spiralling out like Olympic flames as he does so.
It could be argued, as it is by some people in the audience, that this limits the subtleties of the bands material, but one cannot help but marvel at the turbo-charged delivery of 'Sad & Lonely' and 'Atomic Heels', which hide beneath layers of effects and electronics on record.
Though they may have missed their chance to push through the barrier into the mainstream this is for anyone who wishes to catch the band nothing but a positive. In venues small enough to fill with a good old fashioned wall of sound and large enough to lay on a trusty thousand yard stare The Secret Machines come into their own.