Band names rarely fit so perfectly the music they make, most monikers these days seem to have come straight from an online band name generator or seem to be trying too hard to sound cool, artistic or just plain tough…it’s why I went off The Radioactive Zombie Mutant Bikers From Hell. But given that Rewire The Time Machine seems to have one sonic foot in the primordial power of the heavy metal instigators such as Black Sabbath or Vanilla Fudge and the other in the alt-rock rejuvenation of the modern era, their ability to reference the past whilst pushing things forward is perfectly echoed in the name.
But academic musings aside, the first thing you noticed is the weight of the music, by god this is heavy music, never in a gratuitous effort to simply make a lot of unfocused noise, this album is a cornucopia of gloriously taut riffs, powerhouse rhythms, focused beats and driven, often unexpectedly funky bass lines. The charm comes from the fact that although it is the sound of four musicians playing at the top of the alt-rock game, they rarely give away all the goods at once, preferring instead to serve the song and wait for their rare, individual moment in the spotlight, teasing and taunting the listener. Any showboating is reduced to intricate motifs and clever sonic designs which spice the music rather than lime-lit ego massaging that rock is infamous for.
Many will file this alongside the likes of the Palm Desert scene which spawned the cult of Josh Homme and his myriad bands. And if he has moved on to more commercial ventures, there is certainly much going on with Rewire The Time Machine that reflects the diversity and exploratory nature of that original movement. The robotic boogie of Copernicus, the doomy psychedelic feel of Money, the hypnotic groove of All Hail The Wild Sea, the chiming, shimmer of Apex, it is the ability to push the alt-rock envelope further than most of the bands they will be compared to that makes them a far more interesting prospect. And, again unlike many of their alt-rock genre mates, lyrical they are also ahead of the curve, dealing with everything from space travel to hidden histories, nocturnal denizens to the “butterfly in a bell jar” nature of the modern work place and doing so with rare eloquence and informed references.
It has been an album I have been waiting for a while now and even though I expected great things, anyone who has witnessed the band live knew that they were writing cheques that we prayed that they would be able to honour, this is an album which exceeds even those high hopes. A great album? A fantastic album. Album of the Year? Very probably. A future classic? It’s very likely to quickly gain that status.