Band: Fun Machine
Band Website: www.myspace.com/funmachine
Label: BNS Session
Label Website: www.bnssessions.com
Release Date: 2008
When you tell a band….”sure send me your stuff”…you are never quite sure what’s going to arrive. So it was with
Fun Machine are a four piece consisting of John Piatkowski (keyboards, vocals), Andrew Wetzel (guitars, bass, vocals), Renee Maskin (bass, guitars), and Colin Ryan (drums, percussion). The music on their first disc Sonnenhuhn is a real treat. We have eight tracks, including a couple of long ones that exude an amazing energy. We start out with a track called “Sun Chicken” [1:50] which begins with a droning ambience before evolving into a kind of Brian Wilson workshop horror of saws and hammers all building to a rhythmic frenzy which then slides right into the discordant marching intro of “Blok People” [9:06], an intro which builds in intensity to a chord that is held, suspended for almost a full minute before a series of cascading crescendos occur and the process is repeated only this time the moment is sweetened by some Mellotron sounding keyboards. At about the three-minute mark, the band pulls back and goes all introverted-groovy-combo-like for a bit, before re-launching into versions of the opening themes. Arpeggios and solo stylings are flying everywhere. The music is at times super-busy, then soft and ambient and everyone has their time in the spotlight from the up-front bass lead-lines, the searing guitars, hectic ever-changing drum patterns and of course all the keyboards. The structure and arrangement of the band’s other epic “Family Vapor” [15:15] is equally varied, but with even more intensity. Each of these tunes is loaded with plenty very pleasing majestic proggy power chords, and satisfying ‘Tron sounds. There is also a very quirky bent running through these compositions; that Arthur Brown influence perhaps mixed with a large dose of Frank Zappa particularly in the vocal department. This influence also lends these compositions many light-hearted or off-beat moments, you get the distinct impression these guys are having a blast making this music. The music on Sonnenhuhn at times can be very dramatic and then just as quickly go all weird and cheesy, but in a good way.
Fun Machine has developed a very unique and distinctive sound. There’s a bit of Zappa, a bit of Crack the Sky, a bit of Kingdom Come, even a bit of Devo and on top of all that there is a strong retro prog sound running through these compositions but it’s completely updated in terms of the band’s performance style and writing approach. Personally I also loved the fact that Mellotron choirs and strings show up all over these songs. If you are looking for something just a bit different, and yet hits all the right progressive rock notes I urge you to check out Fun Machine.