Fresh new take on alt-countryFingers Cut Megamachine - Fingers Cut Megamachine
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: July 9, 2005
Review by Tony BonyataThey may have an odd, almost unapproachable name, but that won't keep the music on Los Angeles-based Fingers Cut Megamachine's self-titled debut from creeping deep inside your soul. With eleven songs that twist country, early '70s American folk and indie music into one delicious stew, band-figurehead Devon Williams (formerly of the little known punk band Osker) has created a lovely slice of Americana music that should appeal equally to both young and old.
Songs such as the driving "Do You Hear Wedding Bells," "Backseat," which hearkens back to an introspective Dinosaur Jr., and the snappy folk-pop of "Orange Barrel" all feature Williams' honest and, often, vulnerable vocals laid bare for all to witness. And it's this kind of honesty that gives this record its immediate charm. Even when the ghosts of other American folk greats, such as Townes Van Zandt and Loudon Wainwright III, saddle up for a little fireside finger-picking with modern contemporaries, such as Jeff Tweedy, Paul Westerberg and Pavement's Steven Malkmus, Williams corrals all of these influences together for a refreshing new take on alt-country music.
There are moments that this record sounds like an attempt to recapture some of the hip country twang of Being There-era Wilco, which it surprisingly often does, as on "Sugary Fruits" and the opening track "Rough Dreams," which even goes so far as to lift a melody line from "She's A Jar," from Wilco's Summerteeth. But Williams' rough and frail voice adds a uniqueness that makes these songs stand out from the run-of-the-mill singer-songwriter fare.
Uplifting, earthy and stark-nakedly honest, Fingers Cut Megamachine have created a fine debut that - in the folk-rock world - dares to be reckoned with this year.
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