Immaculate Machine – [Album]

Friday, 21 September 2007

There's a certain poppy darkness that weasels its way out of the little corners present in Immaculate Machine's Fables. The band's third proper album (and fifth overall release), Fables' quirky exterior—which could be expected from a band that released an EP entirely in French—and two-and-three part harmonies weave around songs of break-ups, loss and confusion. "Nothing Ever Happens" tells the all-too-familiar tale of being stuck in a small town, while "Old Flame" talks about the changes that take place after a failed relationship ("broken bones don't seem so bad/telephones don't ring the same/anymore"). The band themselves do a good job of sounding bigger than their three pieces, and are helped out by string arrangements from Owen Pallet (of Arcade Fire and Final Fantasy). Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos and The Cribs contribute guest vocals on "Jarhand," but the real pleasure is keyboardist Kathryn Calder's voice, who pulls double duty as a touring member of The New Pornographers. The standout track on Fables has to be "C'mon Sea Legs," with the quiet/loud dynamic, key changes and catchy refrain all adding up to something of an earworm. That actually sums up the whole albumnot a standout, gotta-have-it release, but something that finds a comfortable spot in the back of your head and nudges you from time to time.

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