Album review: THE SPIRITUAL MACHINES – Awake, Alert, Alive, almost

THE SPIRITUAL MACHINES - Awake, Alert, Alive, almost

Would Work Sound [Release date 14.02.17]

Sometimes reviewers can get lost underneath a sea of review copies waiting to be sorted, waiting for evaluation.  They seek refuge in other music eras, rediscovering their lost youth, whilst avoiding the present.  Anything but reviewing what’s in hand.  And then, an unassuming disc comes along and grabs the attention.  Immediately, the focus sharpens and an audible sigh: there is still good stuff out there!

The Spiritual Machines is a project from TV/film composer/producer Evan Frankfort and as you might expect he realises densely coloured soundscapes, aided in the main by vocalist James Grundler.  Anyone who includes a two part take on ‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’ that sounds nothing like BOC is attempting fate, but in the overall context it’s passable if somewhat disposable.

The album – Frankfort’s second under this moniker -  is a concept piece describing a futuristic time when humans can exist outside their bodies and live forever “in the cloud”.  Frankfort has taken his cue from futurist/novelist Ray Kurzweil.  Musically, think Bush mixed with Muse, but in a good way.

The highlight here is ‘Bubble’ featuring the vocals of the under-used Lori Denae, closely followed by the complementary ‘The Race Is Still Alive’ sung by Grundler and ‘The Man Who Stole The World’.

Frankfort saves his best for last, though, because ‘Anyone Can Fly (Rise Up)’ deploys the full gamut of his filmic calling with stirring orchestration, massed choirs, and an excellent Grundler vocal.

This is a truly energising and provocative album.  Seek it out. ****

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

The Best of 2017


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 20 September 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 22 September 2020.


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