There is a recipe for garmonbozia on the net, involving creamed corn and vodka, which ends with the warning that it is only to be consumed by members of the Black Lodge. The recipe is improvised, but the reference is clearly to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks series – a source of inspiration for the conspiracy- and mystery-steeped Swedish duo, Machinista. Although they have named their second album after the foodstuff of an evil order, Machinista may find it hard to remain outside of the mainstream for long: the new material is commercial, dynamic and cut out for chart success.
From the opening bars of “Picture Perfect,” it is clear that the band has been building on the template of last year’s Xenoglossy, finding space for guitars and strings among the pulsing basslines and driving rhythms programmed by Richard Flow. Singer John Lindqwister still has a hint of Nico in his vocals, but the fine tone of his chords really opens up on the album’s stand-out track, “Dark Heart of Me.” Machinista have refined their sound and gained new confidence, which takes their songs and production up a very serious notch.
None of this should be a surprise, as Machinista’s live shows continue to build in excitement. When they appeared at “An Evening with the Swedish Synth” in 2014, they delivered a master class in poptronica stagecraft for a UK audience. They clearly haven’t been resting on their laurels, even if they might have had an eye on Twin Peaks reruns.