Machinista’s third studio album is an evolution from those that preceded it. The band’s live show has developed in the four years that have intervened since the last one, too – away from the traditional synth duo structure to a fuller pop-rock act with a guitarist in a bird mask.
Anthropocene features eleven tracks. One (“Across the Universe”) is a Beatles cover; the rest are originals developed by long-distance telecommunications in Sweden. Several have been released previously as singles and EPs, collected here with new material.
The Italo roots of Richard Flow’s instrumentals are on show, but so are EBM and pop influences. The addition of BRD’s guitar and Karin My’s cello takes the sound away from the specialist DJ section and into other areas of the record shop.
John Lindqwister’s vocals and lyrics are as taut as ever. The themes are dark: “The Scare” seems to be about news of the mass shootings that America specialises in; “Let Darkness In” reminds us that “God left us long ago.”
The main exception is, possibly, the stand-out track on the album: “Ásfriðr” finds Lindqwister having his pain taken away by the arrival of his daughter. It is first class and classy poptronica with positive vibrations, a Goldfrapp influence and cello work by Karin My.
It is great to revisit old friends in “Pain of Every Day” and “Seconds Minutes Hours.” It seems like they have been with us for a while, but they are in great company with the new songs brought to life here.
Life is the thing that gets in the way of making great music, but they both come together on Anthropocene – an album it has been worth waiting weeks, months and years for.