Alternative music reviews

July 9, 2005

Machines To Live In by Quartershade

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Recorded in a rural Leicestershire barn, ‘Machines To Live In’ is an emotive three song CD from Quartershade, taking in many British influences from (latter era) Headswim, Idlewild and Crackout. Making up for lack of originality are the actual songs, which retain their Englishness in vocals and corrosive guitars a la ‘Pablo Honey’ era Radiohead as on the soaring ‘Stay With Me’. Drumming is rudimentary, giving focus on vocals and guitars which keep my interest throughout. The most sombre track ‘Swim’ starts off slowly with just the guitarist playing repetitive chords, allowing bass and drums to enter the mix which progressively builds into an epic sounding rock song. It’s quite calculated, pushing emotional buttons in the listener, in the same way Hell Is For Heroes can put together a life-affirming rock song. The most conformist structure belongs to ‘Capetown’, the shortest song at less than 2.5 minutes, the chiming guitars and solid rhythm section make Quartershade appear to be a more sincere and low key U2, which in my book can’t be a bad thing.

Four years into their career, the Loughborough band have assurance in their abilities and know their strengths – soaring guitars, energetic drum bashing and unfashionably solid rock songs. There’s enough in the music to appeal to the commercial crowd, with accessible songs and broad, easily digestible lyrics, take Capetown’s lyrics of “you seem to be a shooting star, can’t ignore, so hard to hold you” which can be interpretive as being unable to keep the girl, one of relationship’s universal themes. All the factors are in place for Quartershade to muscle in on the current UK rock scene action; ‘Machines To Live In’ demonstrates the strong potential.

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review by Nick Collings.

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