My first encounter with Sweet Little Machine was in the run-up to the recent Patent Pending tour, during which they released a new track (“Hurricane”). I only caught a little bit of their set at the Glasgow gig, which is a shame as what I saw and heard I really liked.
On the way out, the band were handing out business cards with a link to download their EP War for free. Partly because they were good and partly to make up for only being able to review a bit of their set, I duly logged on when I got home and grabbed a copy. Oh, boy. Was I glad I did.
War is a sweet little collection of five catchy yet mildly heavy rock songs. You could say it’s verging in to the pop/punk arena, but it’s a bit more crunching than that while still maintaining the bounce and earworm factors. Simply, it’s a fantastic listen from beginning to end.
“How To Stop An Exploding Man”, the second track, could have an arena on its feet. The hooks are just massive and it’s completely unrelenting. Just as you think there’s a melodic break towards the end, it’s over just as your pulse has considered dropping by a fraction and you’re back into the mix for the final run. And if the opening salvo fired by the catchy beast that is “In God We Trust” doesn’t have you pogoing like a loon then I fear for your health, sanity or both. Hey, why wait for the chorus to chuck in some crowd-pleasing “Nanananana” chants? Let’s just have them right at the start.
The title track comes at the end, and it’s another huge number which befits its cry of “Let’s start a war”. It actually does manage to calm down for a reasonable length of time around 2/3 of the way through before bringing the whole EP to a rousing and fist-pumping end.
If this is their old stuff, I can’t wait to hear what they’ve come up with now they have some more experience under their belts. War is well worth a download – you can check it out on Bandcamp and then throw money at them if you think it’s worth it. And trust me, it bloody is.
Header image by Ellissa Avart