Shambok – Little Machines Inside

In some ways this is a band that is coming to terms riding their own genre and decade-hopping sound. The record’s restlessness can be both its strength and its weakness, and there are times where you are wondering what is coming next but just enjoying the music for the hell of it.

 

http://www.shambok.com

 

Now this is a bit of a mixed bag, but mostly good stuff – the problem seems to be what this act wants to do with their undoubted talent for melody? Now and again they shape-shift between styles, seemingly unable to settle on an approach that suits them – or they try to weld ideas across certain approaches that ultimately end up sounding clunky or gauche. The opener Factory is possibly (given the rest of Little Machines Inside) the most unrepresentative track of all – more in thrall to a jazzy, abstract drum n bass than the simple, melodic structures that populate the rest of the record.

In some ways this is a band that is coming to terms riding their own genre and decade-hopping sound. The record’s restlessness can be both its strength and its weakness, and there are times where you are wondering what is coming next but just enjoying the music for the hell of it. It goes without saying therefore that it is also a very accessible LP, in that most of the tracks are like pop songs, all clocking in at around four minutes, only two flexing their muscles over the seven minute mark. The melody lines can be ridiculously catchy too: Airport Left is blessed with an infuriatingly memorable synth refrain that would sit better on a Stereolab or Diskjokke track. You can also hear parallels in what a label like Smalltown Supersound are doing but there again you can also hear echoes of Ulrich Schnauss in bits of tracks like Little Machines, Weightless World or She’s The Moon. And One Zero is another thing altogether, more akin to gloopy, fuzzed-out lounge than anything else.

None of my griping should overshadow the fact that thus is a pretty good record; and damned catchy in places, Free Bird and City to City are cracking tracks, akin to travelogues and blessed with a certain insouciance. So, overall, yes the odd grumble and I’d love to see them take the bull by the horns though and sort out their style and attack but still worth your time.