Monday, May 11, 2015

Album Review: "Farm Machine" by Steve'n'Seagulls

Farm Machine
It's an amazing world that we live in nowadays.

Think about the concerts you've attended or the hundreds or thousands of shows that your favorite bands have performed and how much was never recorded or saved.

Now anything that happens in front of an audience is immediately captured in stunning high definition on devices that also double as our PDAs, instant messenger, music player, and shockingly enough, phones.

So, is it any real surprise that Steve'n'Seagulls started because a group of Finnish musicians decided to play Thunderstruck by AC/DC whilst wearing the most ridiculous costumes they could think of and put it on YouTube?

I really don't think so. So here's what we have: A group of accomplished musicians from Finland playing a bunch of classic songs on banjos and the like.

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With many cover albums, I tend to only know a song or two on it. It's kind of like listening to Weird Al's newest album, but since I only know like 4 songs in the top 40 in the past 30 years, it's a little hard to be too excited.

This issue will not be rearing its ugly head on Farm Machine. I not only knew every song, save two, of the 12 covers on this album, I own them all.

It's safe to say that I'm pretty darned familiar with everything on this record, but this Over The Hills and Far Away song is not the Led Zeppelin tune, so I'm confused.

It's pretty clear that these five gentlemen really know their way around their instruments. In fact, I've never heard a banjo played so expertly!

It's the most articulate banjo playing I have ever heard. The articulation of the notes is top notch.

On these tracks, Steve'n'Seagulls are playing very authentic versions of the songs. They aren't trying to fit Seek and Destroy onto the banjo, but they're playing it note for note, including solos.

I don't think I need to mention this, but I will anyway. There are none James Hetfield's Motorhead inspired growls or Bruce Dickinson's operatic runs here. The vocals remain relatively constant in an Americana style.

Above all, music should be fun for those who play it, those who consume it, and those who write about it and this music fun. It's never going to be the album you break out at parties, but I can't imagine not enjoying this every time it pops up.

Release: 5/12/15
Genre: Folk
Label: Spinefarm Records
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