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The Canaries–Poke the Machine

April 1, 2008

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(http://www.myspace.com/canariez) The Canaries – Poke the Machine

(http://www.tamurrecords.org/Tamur2/home.html) Tamur. Records

High energy, instrumentally-intensive indie rock that gives a solid, short-lived 30-minute performance.

The Canaries have made a heck of a debut with Poke the Machine. Every song flows together seamlessly, yet every song has a different style. Sometimes the songs lean more on math rock instrumentals, while other times fast punk chords are necessary. They even pull from the noise-dance genre a little bit. Interestingly enough, these changes are so subtle that one will know they are still listening to the same band. It was very relieving that The Canaries have a lo-fi sound that is both grungy and polished.

All of the tracks offer something different and there are none to complain about. Most feel non-serious except for the 52-second “Poke,” in which Alec Gabin sings “She blew her brains out on a workday/she got no presents for her birthday.” The song is a bit of a downer, but it is not long enough to completely offset the mood of the album.

Probably the strongest track on the album is “F*ck like a winner.” Despite its lack of lyrical content, the song’s heavy bass lines and complex guitar instrumentals with excellent singing makes the song a winner. The song begins very similarly to an Erase Errata song, but takes a much different path. At one point in the song, the bandmates break into a very well-sung part that comes as an unexpected high point. Throughout the album, the transitions from song to song are so flawless that they are very similar to a gapless dance mix.

There are only two complaints to be made about this album, if one enjoys the elements that make up this album: the last track has a huge gap in it and the album is only about thirty minutes long. The last track “lunch lady” is seven minutes long, and not because of the length of the actual song. The song is about 2 minutes with a four minute gap that leads to some random chorus singing and talking. While random talking can be expected to be on intros, interludes, and outros, the 4 minute gap leading to this is frustrating. The length of the gap only adds to the second problem, the brevity of the album. Yet, these are minor critiques.

The Canaries have successfully produced a firecracker of an album that explodes and leaves you wanting more. Thankfully, all of Poke the Machine’s complexities make it an album to be played over and over again…in one sitting.

Tim Wallen

wallentw@hendrix.edu

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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