Dan Shapiro, to those familiar with China’s music scene, does not need any introductions. The guy has paid his dues years in a row by writing the scene and even playing in it… in other words, the guy knows his shit! So do his bandmates in The Fever Machine and this collective talent (Fabien Barbet and Miguel Bustamante) combines together in one hard hitting debut record: Living in Oblivion.
BD on Living in Oblivion
I’ve been expecting this record for about almost two years now, ever since Checo Fernandez ( formerly Wu & The Side Effects) mentioned that the band was in the process of recording and played me a song called HeartBrokenBleedingAgain (yes, that’s one word)… Unfortunately, the record itself doesn’t have HeartBrokenBleedingAgain (why? )
The have been described as Stoner – Psychedelic Rock which is kinda fitting but to me, it sounds vintage if there can be such a thing with. The opening number, Hell Yeah, is one of those grinder tunes that tricks you into a false sense of comfort thinking you know what’s coming…. and then it gets interesting! Out of Touch might go down as one of the weakest tracks but it’s really underrated with some good melodies and rhymes. Dance with Deviance has a chorus and pop hook that i just can’t get out of my head and The Arouser is lyrically stimulating.
As I mentioned above, it’s vintage but with a modern edge to it. It reminded me a little bit of early Offspring’s with its hard hitting edge, more so than “stoner rock”, it’s heavy honest to goodness rock with a pair of iron balls. My only complaint about it was that i expected it to be more in-your-face crisp sounding but it wasn’t to be. I was also surprised at the abundance of popish melodies that snuck in there.
Still, I’m ready to dance, dance, dance with deviance…. Now can we get your mustache to Beijing sometime soon?
Ruby on Living in Oblivion
While I’m a little biased in saying Beijing is the heart of China’s live music scene, I have to admit Shanghai does have some decent bands coming up as well. Rainbow Danger Club made it up to the ‘Jing for Black Rabbit and Pairs are played 3 shows here over the Oct Holiday, bringing some other bands in support. But the band I really want to see packing out a local livehouse is The Fever Machine. Their self-proclaimed schizo-rock has been popping up in my playlist since Living in Oblivion was released back in June and I’m dying to see it performed live. They’ve toured Equador this year, surely a little train ride up north isn’t too far away?
This is an album that can only be listened to at full volume, anything less is not doing it justice. It’s unashamedly rock, from the opening riff you know what you’re in for, but it never gets boring, from the psychedelic instrumental The Milfshake to the catchy hooks of Out of Control, it doesn’t drop the intensity at any point. My favourite songs are the two that bookend the album – the opening track Hell Yeah and the final The Arouser, which has to have the best sing-along chorus I’ve heard in some time “we live in fucked up places, we live in fucked up times, we go through fucked up phases, pulling down the party line”. The whole album reminds me a little of Queens of the Stone Age (a big compliment coming for a Josh Homme fan girl!) They call themselves stoner rock, but the album has a polished sound thanks to a long recording process that used 6 different studios. And knowing that just makes me even more interested to see the epic power of The Fever Machine live. I did suggest to BD that we refuse to review this one until they at least booked a Beijing show, but a wise man once said ‘if you build it, they will come.’ So, future Fever Machine fans, get out there, buy the album and let’s get them up here!