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B! Machine – The Evening Bell

B! Machine - The Evening Bell

CD, A Different Drum, 2005

The latest release by the American master of melancholic synthpop B! Machine, 3 years after the album “Hybrid”, also on ADD, presents the listener with the characteristic B! Machine sound and spirit. It may not be a groundbreaking album, but it has a definite identity and can prove interesting (even if a bit of acquired taste) to the casual listener.
As would be expected from B! Machine, “The Evening Bell” is a very personal album, extremely introspective and melancholic. It is very serene, seemingly dwelling on memories, strong feelings of loss, regret and perhaps guilt as well as coming to terms with the past and present.
With quite good production work, the music is more simple and minimalistic than in the previous album, “Hybrid”. The compositions are skilled and precise, very melancholic and some of them almost like sad lullabies. While important, the music mostly provides for a non-distracting background to complement and focus the listener on Nate Nicolls’ clear, deep vocals, which are ultimately the essence of every song.
Unsurprisingly, the lyrics deal with love, past joys, separation and loss and have a feeling of honesty about them. They are rather acceptable, not particularly sappy (although they do walk the fine line as is usual in this kind of music) and are the quite suited to the songs.
The limited edition version of “The Evening Bell” features two 3″ CDs and a label sampler disc. The sampler isn’t particularly relevant to this release (despite some good tunes, it’s just a freebie filler) but the two 3″ CDs, featuring extra tracks and alternate versions of songs, are well worth it, compensating the small extra cost of the limited edition.

[7.5/10 (8/10 for the limited edition)]

— Miguel de Sousa

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