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Washing Machina - The Spontaneous Splendid (Lovely Records)

22 March 2024

There is nothing wrong with wearing your sonic heart on your artistic sleeves. Everyone does it to a lesser or greater degree; after all, there is little new under the sun, and lately, most of what is new doesn’t seem worth your time.

So, all the astute music maker can do is learn from the past, allow it to mingle with your own creative juices and then find new ways to move that sound on to appeal to a new audience. And that is what the excellently named Washing Machina do on their latest, equally excellently, and slightly Warhol-esquely named album, The Spontaneous Splendid.

Therefore, what we find here is music infused with the raw, alternative, college rock sound of the past, the same sound that bands such as Pixies, Sonic Youth, and that most brilliant of bands, Dinosaur Jr., revelled in. But it is also music that carries that late 80s alternative torch into the here-and-now.

“Twilight Zone” is the perfect example of what’s going on here. It’s a song built of solid slabs of sonics, walls of squalling guitars and thunderous energy, but whose abrasiveness is countered by a sort of dream-pop sheen being draped over it. And that is their incredible skill, the ability to blend the edgy with the euphoric, the gritty with the graceful, the muscular with the melodic.

“Daydream Team” takes them further into that hazy, dream-pop realm. “Eaten People” is built from bundles of shimmering sheen. And, as if to balance things out, “Into The Dark” is truly spiky and full of bruised and brooding sounds.

The Spontaneous Splendid is a deft blend of the fresh and the familiar, a reminder of a golden age for truly alternative music and perhaps, with any luck, the sound of seeds being sown for a whole new one.

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