Big Music -
Machinations' second album - was preceded by the hit single "No Say In It", a decent but unremarkable pop number, which did not hint at the reasonable complexity and imagination of of most of the album's other tracks.
That came with the next hit - the dynamic "My Heart's on Fire" - which opens this set. A haunting song, made completely winning by Naomi Star's added vocals, is one of the classics of Australian pop, and paves the way for an album that is mostly lively and danceable, yet with a notable sophistication throughout.
Other highlights in particular are "Execution of Love", "Don't Take Me" and, in particular, "You Got Me Going Again", but the likes of "Predator" and "Jabber" also impress, the latter with a slightly odd chorus, complete with baritone vocals, that could sound silly, yet instead make the song quite engaging.
The album's only real weakness is the rather forgettable slower track "Spark". That one finishes the first side, while Side Two winds down with the other moderately-paced piece, the reggae-flavoured "The Letter", which is somewhat more successful, with Star's vocal again proving effective.
The whole album, with its smooth keyboards and feisty guitars working nicely together, exudes a haunting atmosphere which I liken to contemporary Australian albums like Pseudo Echo's Autumnal Park
and Kids in the Kitchen's Shine
. It's pop, but - together with its sometimes peculiar lyrics - it's not simplistic pop, instead offering a combination of moody and catchy music which works far more than it fails. Rated:
by Reviewer: The Doctor