Ormonde – Machine

January 01, 1970





the first-time collaboration between Robert Gomez and Anna-Lynne Williams,
simmers gently rather than boiling over. These are quiet songs, tranquil but
not exactly static. There’s a subtle yet unmistakable sensuality in Williams’
caressing voice, the main connective thread in most of the songs, as well as
the intricate, light-filled arrangements of guitar, accordion and percussion
that frame her.  When you learn that the
band’s name was taken from Lolita, or
that its lone cover is the uncomfortable Gainsbourg song “Lemon Incest,” it
makes sense. There’s a certain amount of pheromone permeating even the most
serene of these cuts.


The hush
comes naturally. Gomez has toured with Midlake and recorded a string of quietly
stunning solo albums, Etherville, Brand New Towns and Pine Sticks and Phosphorous.  Williams, for her part, was once the voice of
dreamy Trespassers William and also the soft, fetching counterpoint to the
Chemical Brothers “Hold Tight London.” The two holed up in a house in Marfa, Texas
to record these songs, allowing serendipity, not to mention proximity, to meld
their separate, undeniable but unshowy charms.


The best
song here is “Sudden Bright,” Williams singing with the edge-blurred warmth of,
say, Mirah, against a precise yet sun-bathed lattice of guitars. Gomez comes in
after a while, his own voice just as quiet, a little more reserved and shadowy.
Their voices together melt into lovely tight harmonies, no sign at all of where
one begins and the other ends. There’s a bit of keyboard at the back, a single
inorganic sound amid a world of breath and skin. The title track is a bit more
emphatic, its organ trills and reverberating guitars punched through with drum
fills, and still, even here, Williams drips melody like honey from a spoon,
sweet, slow, glistening with sunlight.


Machine is the kind of album you have to settle into.
Expect too much right at the start, and you might find the ten tracks same-ish,
slow and without obvious climax. Yet if you let it drift by once or twice
without too much effort, Machine turns into a gentle, enveloping, time-stopping experience, the very best kind
of indolent pleasure.


DOWNLOAD: “Sudden Bright,” “Machine” JENNIFER KELLY




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