It’s been 10 years since I last heard from Straw Dogs and their infectious sound as I reviewed their last album titled ‘Love And Then Hope’: https://skopemag.com/2009/05/04/straw-dogs-love-and-then-hope. I can tell you firsthand that it was well worth the wait because ‘Your Immaculate Machine’ is the band’s sixth record and one prized possession that will raise some eyebrows in the music community. There are 14 well-crafted songs on this CD and each song has its own special identity. I have to say that it’s smart placement of tracks on ‘Your Immaculate Machine’ because the album displays perfect symmetry.
Front men, Dave von Beck & Darren Smith are back again on vocals and acoustic guitar along with Casey Miller on drums, bass, electric guitar, mandolin and keys. The record also includes: Jeff Fielder on electric guitar & dobro, Scott Becker on electric guitar, Steve Fulton on piano, organ & keys, Riley Mulherkar on trumpet and Elie Kopstein on vocals. The album was mixed and mastered by Troy Glessner at Spectre Studios. The overall efforts put forth here on recording this record is nothing short of stupendous and most certainly ‘Your Immaculate Machine’ of Raw-To-The-Bone Originality. Straw Dogs are barking up the right tree here, so take a BIG, sensible bite out of ‘Your Immaculate Machine’!
I’m not pulling your leg when I tell you that you will have a knee-jerk reaction to the cover art as the image certainly draws you in and will have you wondering what this “Immaculate Machine” is all about. The album starts up with a tune called “Something to Love” that offers the listener a sweet & subtle groove and soothing guitar melody. Overall, you do have “Something to Love” here with its appealing tone, style & sound. Next up, travel to a “Part of the World” that has a rock/folk vibe and showcases Dave Von Beck as a true wordsmith here. I was hearing a little Bob Dylan influence on “Part of the World” with Straw Dogs taking you on a rock-filled, folk-inspired journey. Track three, “Won’t Anymore”, highlights the band playing & singing straight from the heart where Straw Dogs are, without question, strumming emotional chords on this number. I sense a sort of Power Ballad here on “Won’t Anymore” that plays along like a Straw Dogs, soft anthem with a sea of lighters lighting the skies. Moving along, we have “Come Back Over” that is fun, loose, deep, rockin’ and poppy all at once and then experience Straw Dogs tellin’ it like it is with a pleasing sound that will resonate with listeners on “”Sweet Talking Girl”. Track seven, “Rise Above”, supplies a valuable life lesson that will make you feel stronger one note at a time. The next track, “Like Our Lives”, includes a lively, American spirit that can’t be denied while the song, “Apogee”, is sailing away with a harmonious wave that rushes over you. Enjoy the timeless simplicity of the radio “under the stars” on track 10, “Battery” that will leave you charged up for hours on end. Straw Dogs invite you to “Come and dream with me” on “Dreaming Next to Me” where you can just let your mind & thoughts run wild. Marching along, one will fight the good fight on “Soldier On” that is equipped with a wonderful sentiment. The record ends in lighthearted fashion with Straw Dogs tapping into a bit of Cake & Presidents of the United States of America-type style on “Jerkin’ On My Phone”. I thought it was great that Straw Dogs decided to end the set with humor proving that they have a funny bone that needs to be heard and felt. “Jerkin’ On My Phone” is a playful tune that helps you come to the realization that you shouldn’t take yourself so serious all the time. In the end, we all need to learn to live, love & laugh.
I’d like to share some inspirational words from singer/songwriter Dave von Beck revolved around the making of ‘Your Immaculate Machine’:
“There’s always a lot of unanticipated magic that the band brings to my songs,” says von Beck. “Something that starts as a new-found lyric and melody sung over a few plucked strings while sitting on my bed on a Saturday morning, You know, 8 or 9 months later we’re listening to it in the studio during mix down and I’m sitting there thinking, ‘This is so beyond what I ever imagined it could be.'” Even though this is our sixth record, that same feeling still hits me every time.”
“Along with all of these full-band songs, it’s nice to still be writing and recording the occasional acoustic tune like “Soldier On” because that’s how Darren [Smith] and I started on our first record, ‘Any Place at All’. You can just bring a deeper intimacy to a lyric with just a few guitars and some harmonies. And that song needs it because it’s about a person very precious to me who is in the fight of her life.”
I am so impressed with the sixth installment from Straw Dogs because I can sense the hard work and dedication that went into the creation of this album. ‘Your Immaculate Machine’ plays out like an Americana dream with delightful surprises that will Pop out. Straw Dogs haven’t missed a beat since I reviewed their last record and have grown even more as true artists and performers. The Straw Dogs Experience is in full effect!
You can purchase and listen to ‘Your Immaculate Machine’ by clicking on any of the links below and SKOPE out https://www.strawdogs.com/ to get your daily dose of Straw Dogs!
By Jimmy Rae + (https://twitter.com/2JRae)