[Reviewed by Damiano Lanzi]
Machinery of Joy is a quartet from Copenhagen, Denmark. They blend many different musical styles in what they do: krautrock, dreampop, electroclash and even a hint of effected guitars with a shoegaze feel. Despite the variety of influences their music has a distinctive and personal style, and it always appears that all the ingredients have been mixed using the correct formula. The technical skills of all four musicians are evident in the way the sounds are attentively tailored, everything always seems to be in the right place. The mix itself is very clean: the clarity of the sound, the metronomic precision of the drums give a sense of coldness and composure that anyway is perfectly coherent with the northern origin of this music. Above all, the frontwoman Laura Noszczyk is a versatile and talented singer with a great attention to melody and expression that gives that catchy attitude to many of the songs. It’s enough to listen to the first track “Neophytes of Love” to understand that: in the beginning she vocalizes upon an organ pad creating an entrancing atmosphere that wouldn’t have been out of place in a Dead Can Dance song. Then a killer bassline kicks in, the mood completely changes and Laura shows all her emotional and tonal color palette, with some help from the good engineering of vocal reverbs and dub delays. In some tracks with a suspended atmosphere (as in “Landscapes”) she recalls Rachel Goswell of Slowdive, while in the uptempo songs (“Dementia”, “Comatose Puppets”) she reveals all her alt-pop vein, reminiscent of Ladyhawke’s Pip Brown. Anyway, as we already said, Machinery of Joy is not exclusively centered on the singer and all the musicians give a recognizable contribution. The sound of the keyboards for example is interesting: it’s very often based on long organ chords, but the organ sound is treated with effects and automated in order to change that “rock” feel into something more modern and unusual. The hypnotic scale in “Landscapes” is another good example of this mechanization of the instrument playing, that makes me think of American band Devo more than European acts such as Kraftwerk or Neu, and the same treatment of “de-humanization” is reserved to the nice accordion sound in “Solar Storm” and “Lamia”. In the end “On the Verge of Sleep” is a well produced album where everything is made with good taste, and is surely an entertaining listen.