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Breaking down the machine

by Archives September 29, 2009

Rain Machine
(ANTI-; 2009)

Kyp Malone is best known for his work with Brooklyn-based titans, TV On The Radio and to a lesser degree, Iran. Both are celebrated acts, diverse enough for musical muscles to have been flexed any which way. Yet given Malone’s solo effort, it seems they have not even broken a sweat. Rain Machine does not present a wholly disparate approach, but it is brushed with an ease, a breathlessness, occasionally absent from his full-time ventures.
Malone is squarely in his element on his solo debut, as aesthetics range from cascading rock ‘n’ roll (“Give Blood”), to slow-peeling jangle (“Leave The Lights On”). Though, they aren’t all winners. Take for example the cumbersome power-pop of “Hold You Holly” which buries Malone’s luminous timbre beneath a mare’s nest of gaudy instrumentation. Thankfully, blemishes of this sort are scarce.
Rain Machine also features one of the finest numbers this acclaimed artist has ever put to tape. “Driftwood Heart” is a woodsy dirge reminiscent of David Crosby’s If I Could Only Remember My Name, floating in the nebulous horizon at sunrise, buoyed by pristine vocals that cut through the tune without ever overpowering it. The result is remarkable, the portrait of a lonesome silhouette cooing into the faint breeze in the hope someone, somewhere will hear his call.
A rare feat has been accomplished with this self-titled foray: Rain Machine is a side project that does not sound like one. There’s no Iran, no TV, and while the tracks aren’t necessarily a cut above those of his collaborative endeavors, some might prefer the candor of intimate dialogue to the busy chatter found in larger social settings.

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