La Need Machine – Killer Instinct

If you’ve ever heard the music of La Need Machine before, you know that charging guitars are a big part of their sound – but even if you’ve been a big fan of this band’s work for years now, I doubt you’re going to be prepared for the mountain of melodic tension they’re unveiling in the new album Killer InstinctKiller Instinct features a title song and a potential hit called “Herculean Tasks” that on their own would have had the right stuff to get us entranced by the lush, guitar-centric tones this group has written an entire LP around this year, but stacked up with other tracks like “Hot Dog,” “She Loves Rock and Roll,” and “Scary Voices,” this material doesn’t feel like an addition to the La Need Machine discography alone, but a declaration of war aimed at those who have the nerve to claim rock is dead.

There’s no need to question whether you’re hearing a strong grunge element in tracks like “Alice,” the punk-powered “She Loves Rock and Roll” or “Herculean Tasks,” as this group of PNW musicians are undisputedly putting a lot of their region’s most lauded roots into their artistic structure here – and unashamedly, I might add. There’s a lot more of a DIY aesthetic influencing the relentless kick of the instrumentation of all ten songs on the album, but it’s never presented in such a fashion as to alienate the rock n’ roll puritans who have become the biggest source of support for this band – and many of their rivals both in and outside of the scene in western Washington.

The muted qualities in “She Loves Rock and Roll,” “Need Machines,” and even the punkier “Negative” could be experimented with a little more than they have been so far in La Need Machine’s body of work, but the way they’re propped up in this record makes me think the band is already considering a deeper dive into this corner of their sound in the future. There’s nothing here to indicate a lack of desire when it comes to potentially stripping all of this content down for a rawer performance before a well-chosen crowd of intrigued fans, and if they were to give tracks like “Hometown Heroes” and “Scary Voices” the black and white treatment, their angst would be all the harder for us to dismiss as a passive feature.

Rock might have some hope left of its faithful followers right now, and it’s all because of the hard work and hours of dedication acts like La Need Machine have been putting into their music and the culture of an entire underground world over the past year and a half. If it wouldn’t have been a soured political climate or other social discordance in the world, there probably would have been another threat to rock’s place in the hierarchy of pop music around the western half of the planet, but if you crank up “Need Machines,” “Fourth Gear,” or “Negative” loud enough this November, you’re going to feel like the genre can take on any hurdle that comes in its way – so long as this group keeps making amazing music, that is.

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