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Lila Rose – “Heart Machine” Review

Lila Rose’s new album “Heart Machine” is a wonderful work of art. Genre bending to the point where it becomes a new genre in itself, I could brand it Alt-Pop but it wouldn’t do the album justice.

“Obsession”, the album opener is a slow burning waltz full of layered vocals, swirling keyboards and clunky percussion. The result is something slightly off kilter yet haunting and intriguing to make you sway like the undead. The title track Ft Lynx then veers off to something like a more angrier My Brightest Diamond track with growling bass and guitars simmering away under lots of vocal technical trickery and rumbling drum beats. There’s something very lethargic about the production too where everything feels like it’s about to give up and break down and it gives the whole sound a certain charm.

“Like Champagne” then rolls over to a pop route with sexy beats, straight forward riffs and a collection of vocal bending antics to keep you amused. It reminds me a bit of Nelly Furtado. “Casting Shadows” with Eric Denniston then jumps to Bat For Lashes with some fantastic vocal work and some of the best creepy chorus lines I’ve heard in a while. Every nail is hit square on the head. Perfect.

“Lost Your Senses” takes all broken bones of the first four tracks and turns it into something almost dance worthy with a track the straddles a perfect balance between catchy and arty. It’s not something you’ll have in a club by far, but it’ll stick in your head to jig to all day long. “Unbroken” is dark but sweet ballad which has a wonderful middle section which is effectively a vocal solo where Lila’s wonderful voice soars and bellows in epic beauty.

“Give You My All” is pretty much the first time a guitar is heard clearly in this quiet track which slowly stumbles musically while Lila speed sings over the top. It’s a nice breather before the dark gets bloody in “Get Gone Again” which some fantastic chord changes a vocal flick that reminds me of the Cranberries. It’s just wonderfully realised – as the album is throughout. “Bang Bang” is another track that isn’t afraid of going all out with some great percussive work to work the titles theme. It’s a track that stands out on first listen for one reason but stays with you because it grows on you insanely quickly.

“In the Dimmest” brings all the electronics to the fore in what is a relatively low-fi and smooth track in comparison to the rest of the album but it is very catchy and immediately accessible. “Couldn’t Have” is the most upbeat track on the album with a great bass line and a swinging beat as the piano flies around the place. The album closes with the equally magical “And the Beat” in typically dark industrious fashion with quirky vocal delivery, euphoric bridges and hauntingly alluring riffs that pulsate in your mind long after the track ends.

Heart Machine is a stunning album. It holds a dark industrial atmosphere that encompasses everything shown on the front cover. It’s the perfect marriage between technical wizardry and really dark thoughts. It’s easily the most impressive album I’ve heard from a new singer/songwriter in 2012 to date and firmly sits in the middle of fight for our 2012 Album of the Year Podium. This is an album that fans of the thinking mans pop can not afford to miss.

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