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Animals by The Answering Machine

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Reviewed on 27th October 2010.



By The Answering Machine

I was at The Answering Machine's third ever show. It was in a cafe in Rusholme, when they still had a drum machine called Mustafa Beat instead of a drummer. They were accidentally the most perfect indie band since Pavement or something. Instantly every band in Manchester hated them, purportedly because they had 'just ripped off the strokes' but actually really because they were miles better than anything else around and were so, so obviously gonna get signed. I have mixed feelings about this time, cos the guitarist out of my rubbish band that wanted to be the stone roses split up our band when he saw how quickly it was all happening for them, and I promptly went a bit weird and stalked them a little bit, if I am honest. I was waking up in parks covered in eyeliner and smelling of whisky a lot at the time and they seemed to soundtrack all that misery. But I can't deny they were perfect, a gorgeous mix of lo- fi American indie pop and Smiths-y melancholia. And here is where the abject lesson in not getting swallowed alive by the business begins. After a clutch of amazing, perfect singles they backed off the early hype and recorded their debut with Tony Hoffer. God help me, it sounded like Blink 182 sucking vomit through a hosepipe. It was like somebody had taken those brilliant memories of their first songs and smothered them in evil magic plastic fairy dust. It was like the Answering Machine doing their songs through Singstar. CHRIST, it fucking sucked. It seemed like they would be a moment of indiepop beauty lost in time, flattened into another Competent Over Produced Indie Band by the merciless death machine of modern commerce. They supported the fat old Manics and I think one of their songs was on 'Gavin and Stacy' and I wanted to set them on fire for being so young and stupid and dazzled by the lights. Still, you can't argue with success can you?

To be fair, first of all I am a pretentious bell end anyway, and secondly the NEW songs off their debut were actually pretty good, especially the churning New Order-ish 'Emergency'. Showing a good bit of intelligence this is the thread they have chosen to follow with their new single-they have dialled back the hellish over-production creamyness and recorded this shimmering, chilled little grower on equipment they claim to have found in a skip outside their rehearsal room. It isn't very first single-ish at ALL and it sounds like gazing sadly at cars going by in the dark near a motorway, synth washes swelling around you, which is always a good thing. Fussy dickheads like me might bemoan the tragic glimpse of something great that was lost but clearly there is enough talent here to carve out another moment for themselves. This is only a 7/10 but it is probably deliberately not very obvious - some of their best songs are yet to see the light of day and there is the off chance they will do something amazing still.



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On 3rd February 2011 at 11:17 Anonymous 7994 wrote...

actually, i was talking out my bum. i wish I could make an album that sounds like blink 182. there, i said it.



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