Published: Wears The Trousers – July 6th 2009
Former bassist and vocalist with mid-Nineties Kranky recording artists Jessamine, Dawn Smithson’s second solo album Earth Machine is a mysterious combination of plucked strings, synths and downbeat vocals. The album feels as though it is telling a story as each song runs into the next with no sense of hesitation, almost like the wind blowing through trees. Smithson’s voice reeks of melancholy and despair, yet the music offers an uplifting parallel which results in an enigmatic album which needs tranquil surroundings and concentration to appreciate.
With guest appearances from Jesse Sykes, Castanets’ Ray Raposa and the late Bill Herzog, plus returning collaborators David Farrell and Jussi Brightmore, this album isn’t easy listening, but instead is an attempt at something more soulful and complete. Though it tries a bit too hard to hit the psych-folk bullseye at times, it mostly works. Dawn Smithson has woven a web with Earth Machine and it is left up to each listener to untangle her fine silks and make their own personal connection with the album.
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