Listener
Time Is A Machine


4.5
superb

Review

by Alex Trinkner CONTRIBUTOR (73 Reviews)
June 18th, 2013 | 123 replies


Release Date: 06/18/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: All That Will Pass.

It is not uncommon for bands to describe their latest effort as “full of passion” or simply “passionate”. Some bands exert lofty measures to attempt to capture the passion present on the stage, and put it into a recorded effort. With some bands though, it seems as though this passion is realized nearly effortlessly, as their entire discography boasts track after track oozing the proverbial passion. One such band is Listener, a three man outfit fronted by wordsmith and facial hair aficionado Dan Smith. Where Listener saw its birth in the tireless hip-hop songs of Smith, it has since evolved into the post-hardcore tinged “talk music” it has become today. Although there are merely eight tracks on Listener’s third official full length release Time Is A Machine , these 8 tracks are undoubtedly eight of the most passionate and pensive tracks that will see the light of day this year.

Time Is A Machine is without a doubt a progression in the sound Listener has presented to their fans in past albums. The album finds itself firmly planted in nearly too many genres to count, as songs wander off in their four minutes to places Listener tracks have rarely stepped foot before. The first two tracks “Eyes to the Ground for Change” and “Good News First” are two of the most aggressive and chaotic songs in Listener’s extensive discography, the former being the lead single and first glimpse into the world Smith has created this time around. Although at times this record may begin to feel bombastic, there is not a moment found on this record that does not in some way captivate listeners. Every voice crack and strained yell begs listeners to dig deeper into the verbose verbage that is being thrown their way. Dan Smith is a man who knows how to mold and morph words to mean exactly what he is trying to convey, all while doing so in eloquent manner. While Time Is A Machine is a record that focuses less on Smith’s brilliant poetry than past offerings, his perfectly placed words are never lost upon those who hear them. Every single track seems to encapsulate a mood; every sound heard on the song plays an integral part in relaying that disposition.

Past releases seemed more to be an extension of “The Dan Smith Project”, but with Time Is a Machine we begin to see an album that is truly a group effort. The entire band is highlighted in every track, working together so effortlessly it is almost taken for granted the amount of effort that must have went into creating this record. “Not Today” is a song that would be an excellent place to look to find this newfound balance, as the song is atmospheric and instrument driven all while containing Smith’s trademark wordplay. The song is unmistakably sad, a lynchpin throughout the entirety of Time Is A Machine. The instrumentation of Time Is A Machine, while not being a complete departure from the sound of 2010’s Wooden Heart, is somewhat of a new direction for the band. As previously mentioned, songs no longer are entirely dependent upon the poetry of Smith, and instead find themselves perfectly poised to go in any direction that could be thought of. The instrumentation ranges from loud and obtrusive walls of sound (the outro of “Not Today”) to quietly minimalistic uses of brass instrumentation (the intro of “There Are Wrecking Balls Inside Us"), creating the perfect backdrop to the always mesmerizing Dan Smith.

Nowhere is there a track devoid of emotion, slowly building track by track until the massive finale that is “It Will All Happen the Way It Should” a track of unbridled hope and confidence, juxtaposed by the solemn sounds of a lone guitar. A song that will become an anthem to every lonely person that hears it, with an emotional build and climactic chants of There’s a plan!, a phrase that perfectly sums up the sound of Listener; at times songs seem sloppy, but a different kind of sloppy, almost as if the songs were intentionally made to be this way. Whatever the reasoning behind the mixing and recording of Time Is A Machine, it works. All eight songs work together perfectly, and a musical style that could possibly wear thin after repeated listens only grows stronger, a testament to the myriad of layers and the abundance of determination to create an album that is equal part grandiose, dramatic and deceptively personal.



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user ratings (155)
Chart.
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excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
atrink
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2013


2845 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album was honestly a pleasant surprise. I'm digging it a lot more than i thought i would be. It came out today, and it definitely worth checking out:

http://listener.bandcamp.com/album/time-is-a-machine

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2013


1687 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This dude reminds me of a wilder, unkept version of Aaron Weiss. Which is certainly a compliment. Wooden Heart was amazing

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2013


2845 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I didn't want to compare him to aaron in the review, because that's all i ever hear people doing... But i agree, that's probably why i like this so much

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2013


50959 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't have to review this now, thanks

Digging: Friendzone - Collection 1

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2013


2845 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I saw you rated this today and i figured i should write one up before you do lol

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2013


1687 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

His guest vocals on The Chariot's song "David De La Hoz" were epic as hell too

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2013


2845 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

For some reason it just works so perfectly

LuigiPichardo
June 18th 2013


64 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

David De La Hoz is how I found out about this guy. Awesome review btw. "Passionate" is the best word to describe this album. I actually prefer this over Wooden Heart. More focused and rock driven (which is what I was hoping for)

Mad.
June 18th 2013


4197 Comments


Probably not my kinda thing but that artwork...

XingKing
June 18th 2013


11076 Comments


The problem I've found with Listener's material is that the vocals just don't fit with most of the instrumentals. It usually just sounds like a crazed man rambling over some random music he stumbled on. Giving this a listen, so far it sounds like the band is actually working as a band for once which is great. Hopefully this lasts the entire album

Also, that album artwork is gorgeous

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2013


2845 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah this artwork is pretty great. If i had any money I'd buy the vinyl.

But that's kind of what i was saying in the review. the band works together a lot more now. it's not just dan smith rambling over random instruments. they work a lot more this time around

XingKing
June 18th 2013


11076 Comments


My b. I kind of skimmed through the review at first. Solid stuff though

SCREAMorphine
June 18th 2013


1762 Comments


Great review.
Wooden Heart was good.

Skoj
June 18th 2013


1265 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

All hail Dan Smith, the finest lyricist in music.

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2013


2845 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I still think Aaron Weiss is better

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
June 19th 2013


8021 Comments


"Where Listener saw its birth in the tireless songs hip-hop songs"

might wanna fix that, good review

Slum
June 19th 2013


2579 Comments


Your review was posted on their facebook

ABjordanMM
June 19th 2013


1451 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

artwork is awesome.

Thanntos
June 19th 2013


321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Can't get enough of this album right now. Although no song compares to the title track on 'Wooden Heart' its still just an incredibly solid album.

ABjordanMM
June 19th 2013


1451 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah wooden heart is pretty incredible.



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