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



On Sunday 28 July 2019, David Randall celebrated his 600th show. “Assume The Position” started in June 2007 on UK City Radio before transferring a year later to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio. The show includes tracks played on the first show plus Upton Blues Festival highlights, new music and the regular features “Live Legends” and “Anniversary Rock” which this week celebrates the Island Records label 60th anniversary.

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Power Plays w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)

BEFORE FIRE Dead Eyes (indie)
SCOTT & MARIA Never Give Up (indie)
CORELEONI Queen Of Hearts (AFM Records)
BERLIN Transcendance (Cleopatra Records)
PHIL CAMPBELL These Old Boots (Nuclear Blast)
PHIL LANZON Blue Mountain (Phil Lanzon Ditties/Cargo Records UK)

Featured Albums w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 SOLEIL MOON Warrior (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 ROXY BLUE Roxy Blue (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 DREW HOLCOMB & THE NEIGHBORS Dragons (Magnolia Music/Thirty Tigers)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

JAMES STEVENSON Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over (2013)



Email This Page
This entry was posted in ALBUM REVIEWS, ALBUM REVIEWS (Mobile), All Posts, The Best of 2017. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply