‘Like A Machine’ is the sound of Andy Meecham’s previous LP as The Emperor Machine, 2009’s ‘Space Beyond The Egg’, brought down to earth with a crash.
Although the featured electro-pop, synth zing and punk-funk enjoys being fashionably thrown back, some of Meecham’s bass-slapped, hair-sprayed grooves, wrapping around the precocious whims of hired club kid Michelle Bee, are rather uninspired and perfunctory. They’re happy to play a blagger role, rather than one of a get-up-and-goer.
It’s no coincidence that the album’s best track ‘La Llorona’, a horror story in a prog-rock star’s mansion, is instrumental, and you can’t deny ‘Pop The Lid’ and ‘Hey!’ have some dancefloor stickability. ‘Voices’ precariously makes cheap meet cheerful, but as a whole this LP lacks the drive of Meecham’s earlier disco disputes.
Words: Matt Oliver
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Andy Meecham on the art of ‘Like A Machine’…
Is this a holiday photo?
It’s my brain, mate – it’s probably what it looks like. That’s it. I wanted it to be the Emperor Machine’s brain. The artist who drew it is called David Imbërnon; he’s the man who can realise a dream and a vision. I think of Emperor Machine as just a character really, and I just thought it might be good to show people what the brain looks like that makes the music.
Is it peppered with cannons or exhaust pipes?
I reckon exhaust pipes.
How pacifist of you!
Yes, let’s ruin the planet!
There’s a lot going on, you’ve got some sort of militarised tank wheels?
Yeah. I think the brain can move around the planet, that was the idea. Then it became a spaceship and the skeleton astronauts are trying to repair the brain, and the entrance, as you can see, is clearly a vagina. Which is probably the best entrance you want to go in, if you’re that way inclined, obviously.
Righto, a kind of Oedipal entrance?
Yeah exactly, what’s the best entrance? Well it’s got to be a vagina. So yeah, that’s what it is I suppose: a moving brain with a vagina.
And that’s what you instructed your illustrator to provide you?
Not in the beginning, no. Originally it was a picture of a dog. Then as we got chatting it developed into this brain that could move and jump planets. You know, it was the kind of malfunction of the brain that made music. This whole malfunction aspect comes from working with Dean Meredith, who I make music with as Chicken Lips. Sometimes when things malfunction and machines do things they want to do, that you didn’t program, it often sounds better. So I wanted it to represent a malfunctioning brain along with the music.
The skeleton on the steps looks completely stunned. Is that because he’s just emerged from the vagina front door?
It’s going to get dirty now; he looks like he’s had a good time in the vagina maybe, I don’t know. It’s a weird one really, I was unsure of it at first but then it kind of reminds me of a DC Comic skeleton. I liked it in the end. The idea of the cover, really, you can interpret it what you think. But I think he looks like he’s been doing something, to be sure – he’s coming out of the vagina or the tw*t, whatever you want to call it – and now he’s looking for something, obviously.
Did you know that despite our brains only being 2% of our body mass, our brain uses up more than 20% of our energy and oxygen?
That’s pretty deep, man. I haven’t really read up on the brain. It’s amazing, your brain. For example, you can sing in tune. And you know, that’s why I think I wanted a brain, because that’s what makes the music; it’s what tells the body what to play with the hands, the keyboards, the thoughts. It’s the perfect thing for a cover, for The Emperor Machine.
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