Mechanimal – Mechanimal (album) (Inner Ear Records)
Originally released in November of 2012, by Inner Ear Records, an independent record label based in Patras, Mechanimal’s debut album was an instant critical and commercial hit, named “Album of the Year” by several magazines and blogs.
Per its accompanying press release:
“Mechanimal formed in 2011 in Athens Greece in the midst of an unprecedented economic and social decline. Spawned out like a “living creature with wires as veins” pulsating with abrasive vocals into a murky terrain of quirky sounds that are painted on with monophonic synth arps, delays and distortion. Mechanimal persist on finding beauty and hope in the unforgiving urban terrain not by distance but by submergence, a living, breathing new kind of music”.
Grab your headphones and get comfortable – this 10 track debut clocks in at 65 minutes but is well worth every minute. Enjoy the ride.
“Funny” starts the album on a rather solemn note. Somewhere between Peter Murphy and Scott Walker, the rich baritone vocals characterize the track while supported by rich piano chords and textured with electronic flourishes. It’s darkly gorgeous avant-garde number that shows hints of Scott Walker’s ‘Bish Bosch’. “Schnitt” follows, raising the tempo in addition to setting the tone and character for the remainder of the album. Featuring a wall of sound made up of synth arpgeggios and screaming guitars while held together by what sounds like a Roland TR808 drum machine, “Schnitt” is a krautrock-inspired number with vocals that sound like PSA warning – in fact, all in all, “Schnitt” is not unlike…er, Public Service Broadcasting.
“Un/Mobility” and “In Somber Accent” call to mind Rammstein-lite with the 4/4 industrial beats and the former’s “pop” hooks, while “Motorik”, as the name suggests, continues with the krautrock styling, summoning the spirit of Kraftwerk.
The arrangements of all 10 tracks are sprawling and journeying often working around simple repetitive melodies then layered with ambient textures, warm synth sounds, and odd electronic noises. Combined with vintage drum-machines and synths, running throughout the record are also 80’s metallic guitar leads, which somehow work and help accentuate the album’s industrial sound. Though industrial in sound it’s never abrasive or offensive and, similarly, despite the overtly dark nature of the album, it’s surprisingly hooky and accessible too.
Both “Dead Roach Blues” and “Hole In My Heart” show are more atmospheric and dreamy side while unraveling slowly. The aforementioned “In Somber Accent” features some gorgeous synth work and, dare we say, even offers a sense of tranquility.
Epic closing number, “Low Land”, is a nostalgia-inducing number that fuses industrial beats with darkwave synths to create the catchiest track on the album.
The debut self-titled album from Mechanimal is a very consistent and extremely solid body of work that is sure to appeal to fans of krautrock and goth alike.
The self-titled debut album from Mechanimal was reissued on 15 June, 2013 and is available now.
Watch the video for “Schnitt” below:
Watch the video for “Un / Mobility” below:
Watch the video for “Ghost” below: