Noise Appeal Records [Release date 28.09.18]
Formed in 2014, The Ghost And The Machine are an Austrian ‘post blues’ three piece – Andi Lechner (resonator guitar, lapsteel, vocals), Heidi Fial (double bass, vocals) and Matthias Macht (drums).
While their eponymous debut, released in 2016, was an understated meeting of acoustic blues and indie folk which failed to set the world alight, Red Rain Tires sees The Ghost And The Machine deliver an album with the potential for wider appeal.
Opening with the hypnotic ‘Falling’, Lechner’s busy, almost ‘classical gas’ style of picking is something Lindsey Buckingham would surely appreciate, while a summer of love vibe to the earthy vocals makes for an enthralling listen.
If that’s a signal of intent, then the current single ‘Dirty Mind’ offers the most commercial appeal with its driving rock rhythm, chiming guitar work, and infectious doo-wop harmony vocals.
The dreamy ‘Blue Day/Yellow City’ is another number with a hypnotic rhythm, while the slow and broody lead single ‘Caroline’ squeezes every last ounce of emotion out of the sparse playing, perfectly supplemented a melancholic banjo cameo from Fial.
For an acoustic three piece, the band weave some impressively sonic soundscapes with the plush woody mellowness of Fial’s double bass the perfect counterpoint for the vibrancy of Lechner’s edgy resonator guitar work.
‘Complex Animal’, with its handclaps and bleeding harmonica playing, is another intoxicating number, the haunting ‘Scars’ cuts deep, and ‘Butterflies & Dust’ is mildly anthemic. It all adds up to a surprisingly expansive release, packed with some captivating playing.
As a Blues resurgence converges with the country driven Americana revival, Red Rain Tires sees The Ghost And The Machine perfectly placed to surf that wave. ***1/2
Review by Pete Whalley
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