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“Take It Away” by Like Machines

The downfall of melodic rock being a constant presence on the mainstream charts started off all too slowly but seemed certain by the time the mid-2010s rolled around, but even with this being an undisputed fact in 2020, acts like the potent Like Machines aren’t letting rock n’ roll slip into darkness entirely. Like Machines are committed to breathing vitality into the hard rock subgenre that so many of us grew up on, and in their new single and video “Take It Away,” they make a rebellious statement directed towards anyone who would describe their efforts as being the least bit retro by design. 

Official Website: https://www.likemachinesmusic.com/

Right out of the gate, there’s an angsty vibe to the lyrics in “Take It Away” that immediately casts a dark hue over the way we’re going to interpret the rest of the song, but I would stop short of deeming them self-destructive nor overindulgently emotional as so many other passionate rock singles have been in 2020. There’s a self-awareness behind the narrative in this instance, but it isn’t forced on us to the point of sounding removed from the raw, chest-pounding energy of the instrumentation, and that’s a difficult combination of elements to put together in this setting. 

These guitar parts have such a physical presence in the mix, but I don’t they’re given as much attention as they deserved in the grander scheme of things. “Take It Away” celebrates its vocal-powered hook more than it does the punishing nature of the string play, and while this isn’t enough to make me dismiss the track as an overshot stab at greatness, it definitely makes me want to hear them put more emphases on the fretwork in the future. It’s one of their best features, and this single actually manages to underutilize it. 

The lead vocal in “Take It Away” tends to be the sharpest point of melodicism being hurled at us in this track, but the overall workload distribution between these three players is actually pretty even. No one is lacking in talent and there’s definitely a chemistry in their play that tells me they’re really connected when it comes to hammering out a general concept for what they want to do with their music. The latter is something a lot of groups would spend a lifetime trying to perfect, and this trio already has it figured out rather brilliantly even before cutting a proper debut LP. 

Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/album/take-it-away-single/1522363142?i=1522363692&ign-gact=3&ls=1

Like Machines have got a long road ahead of them, as does any rock n’ roll band trying to make a name for themselves in this emerging decade in western music, but they’re stepping on the gas pretty hard in “Take It Away” and giving us an excuse to keep tabs on their future output for sure. I’m curious at how they’re going to bring this same energy onto the stage with them once things have gotten back to normal for the world of live music, but until then, the quaking sounds of a single/video combo like this one will just have to suffice. 

Mindy McCall

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