FFWD REW

Rain Machine – s/t

Anti

In art-rock outfit TV on the Radio Kyp Malone is the Ewok-faced guitarist with the chipmunk voice. He’s a crucial element of the band but he tends to get overshadowed by frontman Tunde Adebimpe’s energy and David Sitek’s studio trickery. Rain Machine is all Malone though and on his self-titled debut he proves worthy of the spotlight.

After a brief intro the album begins with “Give Blood” a driving rocker that sounds a little too much like a TVOTR castoff. It’s on the next song “The Last Name” where Malone begins constructing his own identity. The percussion shuffles and clatters while whistles drift into the foreground and disappear. Malone’s guitar weeps none-too-gently while his voice wavers from croak to soaring falsetto to impassioned wail as he sings “I tried to change my name/ To ‘Big Fag.’” It’s the kind of song that confidently kisses listeners on the lips as a way to demand attention.

Wisely Malone follows the lead of “The Last Name.” Throughout the album he opts for largely unadorned slow-burners that revolve around his mournful guitar work and the incredible power he commands from his chameleonic voice. Rain Machine is too weird to be met with the same praise that TVOTR regularly receives but Malone has constructed a striking forceful work that certainly deserves plaudits whether he receives them or not.

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