The Pittsburgh “experimental folk” outfit String Machine’s seven members come together for a captivating transformation of the drag of everyday life into something fun and even triumphant on their new single “Old Mack,” available to listen to at the end of this article and taken from their upcoming album Death of the Neon, available August 2. Their work overall feels quite cinematic — thanks to the breadth and confidence of their sound, the listener easily experiences a pull into the band’s world or at least the world of the songs they make. Running lyrically through tales of a less-than-friendly old dog into noting the birthday of the speaker’s best friend, String Machine feel like they’ve truly captured the feel of a get-together between friends and family in the backyard of someplace perhaps long-forgotten by the corporate rush of modernity and beyond. Here, it’s just you and those around you, like it’s supposed to be — and the fun part is you don’t have to actually travel anywhere to experience this thanks to the subtle power in “Old Mack.”
There’s a whole lot going on in the song instrumentation-wise. The band pack everything from the normal modern band mainstays of vocals, guitar, and drums along with a trumpet and cello, and this variety is readily apparent and effectively and poignantly utilized on “Old Mack.” Whether it’s an instrument you’d easily find elsewhere or be hard-pressed to spot, the members of String Machine unite their performances with an emotional urgency. They don’t sound like they’re just trying to play some notes. Rather, they’re trying to capture and transmit the alluring human experience described above.
String Machine have a previous, 2017 album currently available called Threads from the Youth Fossil, but they describe their newest effort as their truest debut, born from their “first conscious effort to make an album as a band,” which could be a challenge when your band has seven people. Apparently, the home studio they worked out of is situated in a rural Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, area, and the natural environment’s strength really feels apparent on this new album.
Check out “Old Mack.”