ALBUM REVIEW: Massa Confusa - Two Man Machine
Although they're not a household name, Newcastle-based duo Massa Confusa rank among our region's most important outfits.
As well as being a fine band in their own right, Ally Morton and Matt O'Brien have, in a sense, created their own mini-scene, with regular compilations and gigs providing a stage for local acts and pulling in DIY talent for across the country.
Underlining their prolific nature, the pair have also found time to record and self-release a second album, their follow-up to 2014's Amblyopic.
In keeping with their ethos, Two Man Machine is a strictly DIY affair; a jagged showcase of their post-punk palette with no frills and certainly no contrivance.
The record has, nevertheless, undergone a longer gestation period than previous releases, and from the get-go it's obvious this new approach has paid dividends.
Its opening in particular is fantastic, with the spiralling riffs of Dark World followed by the looping repetition of Rock/Paper/Scissors and the gothic tinge of latest singe Descension - one of two tracks to feature guest vocals from Jackie Purver, formerly of local garage band Retriever.
Throughout, Morton's angular guitar and O'Brien's motoric drums combine with mechanical precision, yet many of these songs also bear a pronounced sense of melody.
This is especially obvious on Machine, whose robotic chorus provides the album's strongest hook, and perhaps the closest it comes to a singalong moment.
Give it a try, and get yourself down to the next Massa Confusa Presents show. Chances are you'll find plenty to enjoy! 7/10.
Two Man Machine is available now from Massa Confusa's Bandcamp page.