I thought I’d try something a little different, on this gorgeous Albertan spring-time afternoon! So here we go – a review of the electronic/techno/future bass artist LongWalkShortDock‘s latest album, Squashing Machine.
Now, it’s not often that you come across an electronic album that invites unexpected empathy with a spazstic capacity to get you punching the air like it’s 2010 on the Jersey Shore, but Squashing Machine gets you there and back again.
My initial thought was that the album started slow. The first track, Addictions, is a nearly 9-minute, ever-transforming and ominous suite that demands you to reflect upon the state in which you live your life. Haunting vocals and gentle electronic rifts, combined with long, slow dub effects create an open mind-space. The lyrics, which lapse brilliantly in and out of focus within the rest of the song, offer allegorical insight to the chaos of the poetic mind. It’s the same reason I love Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip. We’re all just fucking manic poets.
Cut directly into Choked By Robots. In my opinion, this is the sickest track LWSD has released to this day. He’s played this one live for a while now, and I’m so happy to finally have a full copy of it. You all remember that old skit from Saturday Night Live, with the Old Glory robot insurance for old people? He samples this to create a head-banging electro hit that makes you laugh and then rocks you into aural submission.
Dark Matter is up next, and it’s just fucking dirty. If you tell me you can listen to without wanting to steal a car, I’ll call you a liar. Fat Mess is a return to the kind of soul we heard in Addictions.
I’m Forgetful captures the essence of play, offering dirty electro with amusing lyrics and that pleasantly mind-numbing rage scream that LWSD is known for in his live performances.
Lacksadaiscal is exactly that, and by this point in the album I was really understanding why LWSD uses these soulful rhythms to break up all the bangin’. The slower riffs give you time to crave the heavier hitting beats, and at the same time they offer a peacefulness, a safe space to appreciate the music you’ve just experienced.
Naturally, as we move into Last Crawl we rediscover lunacy. Sheer lunacy. This is the track that gets the crowd’s smiles going. Don’t you think this party’s going on – to another dimension?! It’s a great set up for the next song, Lost The Will To Strive, which steps further into electro territory. Initially, it shocks your eardrums awake with music fitting for a slow motion car chase, filled with explosions and sick air. The lyrics and vocal tone channel both Metallica and System of a Down, and again, invite that empathy we talked about at the beginning of all of this rambling.
I think that No Way Out is so beautiful. This is my riding-the-motorcycle-round-a-mountain-passage track. The beat is progressive and transformative, emotional without being heavy, and graceful without feeling too slow. The vocals seem to emanate from all around you, whisking you off to a plane of gentle contemplation. Conversely, Protest asks you to take what you’ve learned in the serenity of No Way Out and kick it up a notch. The progressive element is still there.
Uh oh – Wreck It. This far into the album you know the familiarity of that starting beat. Shit’s about to get crazy. And it does. A Frankenstein-like yell alerts you to the drop of glorious, dirty, grungy proportion. This is the one I have no qualms about leaving on repeat for what most might consider an obnoxious amount of time. Just like Choked By Robots, it’s a trip that will make you wish there was some way to sing it out loud.
8 Minutes concludes the album, and it’s a mellow mix of everything you just heard. There are moments of electro bliss, vocal stimulation and a beat mashup that’ll help patch the crack LWSD just opened in your mind.
All in all, after a good listen to Squashing Machine, you can’t help but feel like you know Dave on a first name basis. I remember meeting him last year at Bass Coast, and us trying to scream a conversation at each other over the music. We both concluded that was too hard, so we just raged face instead. The way it should be.
You can find our fellow Calgarian LongWalkShortDock on Facebook, or at LWSD.com, and you can pick up digital copies of his albums on East Van Digital. Give some of his songs a listen and a heart on SoundCloud, too! Try to avoid buying on iTunes if you can; he’ll get less money for his art, and you’ll probably end up paying more.
Thanks for the wicked album, LongWalkShortDock!