I’ve been alerted to this six track EP by Machine Learning’s guitarist/vocalist Paul Balmer, one third of the band’s line-up alongside bassist Bradley Botbyl and drummer Mario Quintero. Can’t tell you much more about them, but they tag themselves as akin to Smashing Pumpkins (with justice), shoegaze and space-rock among other things, and as San Diego so I’m guessing that’s where these folks hail from. What they play is a glorious mess of noise and melody, all fuzz and distortion playing across something sweeter. Remember when Jim Reid claimed that he didn’t realise that the Jesus & Mary Chain were making so much distortion and that he thought he was singing like a bird? (Yeah, right). Well, that’s something of what happens with Machines Learning.
The contrast is in the switch from the noise-fest of ‘Bulletproof Tiger’ and ‘Punching The Rabbit’, frantic conflagrations of sonic attacks meshing themselves over Balmer’s vocals, and the cleaner sound of the title track with Bobyl’s determined, dominant, bass lines as it switches from its rough-hewn but un-fuzzed origins into another tightly played melodic cacophony that Billy Corgan himself might have been proud of. ‘satAMcoffee’ delves, probes, even deeper into gritty denseness while Quintero gets particularly punchy on ‘010710’, another one that sharply blends its dual characteristics of grunge with melodic underbelly and, again that Pumpkins analogy, sits square into Machina/The Machines Of God territory, which makes it exciting and very worthwhile in my book.
‘This Destroyed Me’, plays it all out with a pensive, haunting and melancholic mood-swing that lingers in the mind and adds substance and atmosphere to what’s gone before it. Very Smart Stuff.