Hailing from Philadelphia, post indie rock quartet Thinking Machines released ‘Extension Chord’, at the back end of last year; their follow up from the preceding ‘Work Tapes.’ Taking elements of indie rock and experimenting with psychedelia I can’t quite grasp the sound Thinking Machines are trying to create: perhaps on a personal level because admittedly indie rock isn’t my genre of choice; regardless I am going into this as open minded as possible.
Opening the record is ‘The Squid’, quite an average sounding track with an overly long instrumental introduction that lacks in structure. Once vocals do make an appearance they get lost within the other instruments so they’re barely audible; brownie points for the infectious, quirky hook at the end of the track though. A bit more personality shines through in the vocals in following track ‘Gozu’ although this is only in the chorus; similarly they seem to be drowned out by the overly loud guitar.
There just doesn’t seem to be much backbone to the songs; they get predictable and lack in personality. Personally I prefer tracks with a bit of energy behind them but the only offerings on ‘Extension Chord’ that seem to do this is ‘Crisis’ and ‘Thorax’, perhaps the highlight of the record in comparison to the conventional structures of ‘Sophia’ and ‘Doom. React. Destroy’ (among others,) which boast mid-paced riffs that on the most part lack energy, uncharacterised vocals and very stable percussion.
The whole psychedelic element is quite cool at first, creating a sort of space rock sound; however when all of the tracks pretty much merge into one huge psychedelic, space rock piece it soon wears on me and the wishy washy guitar, the slowed percussion and flat vocals just don’t impress me. Thinking Machines really don’t tick the boxes for me and despite trying to be open minded, after several listens I still can’t find myself enjoying it much. Don’t get me wrong, there is the odd infectious hook thrown in that stuck in my head but unfortunately apart from that this really isn’t my thing. If you love indie rock then I can guarantee you will enjoy this, but sorry lads, I just can’t get my head around it.
‘Extension Chords’ by Thinking Machines is out now via TMvFM Records.
Words by Hannah Gillicker (@HannahGillicker)