Review Summary: Russian Roulette: Laser Gun Edition
Metal revs up. A robot voice ekes out, “Machine Girl…” and fizzles dead. A split second of silence settles onto the soundstage, tantalizing, dead space, a clean clean sla-
Factories eating themselves all over the dancefloor, pulsating beams blinding the space and someone’s given some punk-ass Hot Topic shrieker the microphone. Less than a minute into its runtime, “Because I’m Young Arrogant and Hate Everything You Stand For” earns its blaringly angry, immature title. On their new LP, Brooklyn producer/songwriter/vocalist Machine Girl fuses the rhythmic strengths of “WLFGRL” with the melodic arrangements of “Gemini” to push breakbeat to new levels of instrumental saturation. Each track constantly shifts between relentless digital hardcore and sparkling, shoegazey synth walls. Vocals howl into the void one second then glide along the next. Machine Girl’s main trick on the record is navigating effortlessly between these two extremes, using each to highlight the intensity and beauty of the other without losing coherence track to track.
The madness of “Because I’m Young…” is anchored by excellent vocal choices across the record. While the lyrics often delve into pure, incoherent punk rage, they’re delivered with such relentless conviction that it’s easy to get caught up in their energy. The vocal hooks (“DON’T BE BITTEN TWICE!” “VOMIT! VOMIT!” “I CAN FEEL IT IN MY HEAD!”) are incredibly sticky while the melodies that infiltrate the record’s calmer spots (the gorgeous, driving vaporwave of “Xleepy;” the ethereal chants of “Athoth A Go! Go!”) provide them a musical counterpoint. Closing track “It Takes a Nation of Millions…” synthesizes the dichotomy beautifully, standing as a call to arms and an affirmation of solidarity; the pulse-pounding bass drum and chiming pentatonic melody propel the record to a hopeful conclusion without sacrificing the record’s momentum.
“Because I’m Young…” maintains its insane energy effortlessly over the course of its thirty-eight minutes while granting the listener clear touchstones through its melodic and vocal hooks. In a genre that so often fails to live up to the promise of its parent styles, Machine Girl continues to create fully-realized works that instill Breakbeat and Digital Hardcore with new life.