MA natives Strange Machines are certainly carving out a name for themselves in the highly competitive, diverse music scene of their hometown city in Boston. 

This relatively newly-formed quintet of twenty somethings have been steadily gaining momentum in part because of their energetic, improvisational live shows, of which they have already had the privilege to open for nationally touring acts such as Turkuaz, John Brown’s Body and Consider the Source

With the release of their sophomore album Turn the Tide, a follow up to 2012’s Space Cadet EP, Strange Machines prove that they are a serious force to be reckoned with.

Recorded at 9B Studio in Milford, MA and produced by Toft Willingham (lead vocals/guitar of Spiritual Rez), the group here has displayed an increased level of maturity and musicianship both in their writing and recording process.

Here’s a video of the boys playing the song “Steal Away” at 9B Studio:

Clocking in at around 43 minutes, Turn the Tide is a relatively short album (containing only 7 songs), although it definitely packs the listener with a swift, well-executed punch.

Incorporating a unique fusion of reggae, rock, livetronica, dub and even metal elements reminiscent of The Expendables (the band, not the film…), Strange Machines is sure to whet the appetite of music lovers of all palettes on this album.

What really separates Strange Machines from the crowd though is the chemistry between guitarists/vocalists Mike MacDonald and Ricardo Barraza.  On this record, the two frequently feed off of one another’s funk, rock and reggae-tinged riffs with melodic guitar leads, soulful harmonies and heavy, distorted solos.  Another obvious standout is the incredibly groovy rhythms and filthy, dubbed-out solos provided by Christian Perron on organ, keys and synth.  Not to be forgotten, Bill Noonan and Nick Minicucci hold down the rhythm section well, providing tight, in-the-pocket playing on drums and bass respectively. 

Bottom line- Turn the Tide is not only a solid progression from the group’s previous release, but it is also an impressively close representation of the group’s high intensity live sound, which is something not many in their genre can boast.

Strange Machines are kicking off a string of shows all over New England, starting with the Turn the Tide album release party this Friday, November 7th at the Middle East Downstairs with Spiritual Rez and MUN.  Check out the rest of the band’s tour dates here.

Mark McGwin 11/7/14 @markmcgwin