I think like a majority of people, Wooden Hearts turned me onto Listener. Quirky spoken word/hip-hop with a wide variety of instruments and musical accompaniment, Listener offered something different and appealing. Lyrically deep and musically interesting is always a winning combo and Wooden HEart hit home for myself and a lot of people. I think it’s the same draw that mewithoutYou has. Just something askew that makes it completely compelling.
Time Is A Machine is a little more “traditional” musically speaking. It’s a little more straightforward rock and roll. My comparison to mewithoutYou feels more fitting when listening to Time Is A Machine. We still get Dan Smith’s unique delivery and great poetic lyrics. But the score that made Wooden Heart a fantastic listen is gone.
That doesn’t mean Time Is a Machine isn’t a great record. But it is different. And it took me a couple listens before I got over mourning what this record wasn’t. Because the record is very good and my want for something else shouldn’t diminish how good Time Is A Machine is.
Eyes To The Ground For Change and Good News First are both blistering rock songs. Good News First has a small breakdown that reminds me of mewithoutYou’s Paper Hanger. Not Today is a beautifully simple song. A single guitar and Smith’s voice before building to a lovely crescendo. There’s something classic about the song. Very mid-90’s emo. Tornado is a great description of what you get musically from the song of the same name. A whirlwind that lulls you in at calm moments before the song explodes. I Think It’s Called Survival has this great punk rock fury.
Time Is A Machine is unexpected… And I think that’s what Listener wanted. They delivered a fantastic rock record while keeping Smith’s unique vocal stylings. It’s still talk music, as the band self describes themselves, but it’s a different musical direction. And it’s great.