Lydia Loveless – Indestructible Machine (Music Review)

Indestructible Machine cover

Lydia Loveless - Indestructible Machine

Lydia Loveless is the new star standard-bearer for Bloodshot’s “country punk” sound, with an aggressive snarl and songs full of taunts and kiss-offs. But she is just as quick to present herself as a socially awkward alcoholic, with references to depression that seem a little too real to write off as mere songwriting. Loveless’ biggest strength is in how she merges these two sides of her personality, and presents it as a consistent, fleshed-out life. If great country singers are expected to open their lives to the audience, she has the most promising approach in the modern rebel scene. Her debut album Indestructible Machine’s greatest accomplishment is shouting out lines like “you seem like such a pussy, babe” while still claiming a place in the conservative country tradition.

However, she still has some room for improvement. The opening songs demonstrate this best, with “Bad Way To Go” being simply jarring, and “Can’t Change Me” sounding like a rock band and country singer who are about to split over creative differences. The sadder songs could stand to have slightly more nuanced singing and less projecting of her voice. But when she attempts that with the more generic-sounding “How Many Women”, it seems that she had to forget her strengths in order to slow things down.

However, even the weak songs are usually excellent vehicles for Loveless’ character, and feature snappy, personal lyrics. When everything fits together as it should, the effect is excellent: “Jesus Was a Wino” is a shit-kicking justification for alcoholism, but with a dark edge that will discourage anyone from living vicariously through her. (The hook is “if I can’t find the corkscrew, I’ll just smash it open right here on the floor”.) “Crazy” should be the template for her quieter side, presenting a downward spiral that can’t be stopped despite the narrator’s self-awareness.

Indestructible Machine is consistently enjoyable, and at least for now, Loveless’ unevenness is part of her reckless charm. Even the songs that should be better are difficult to stop listening to, and the high points are worth the price of the album. I can’t tell how or if she’ll evolve next, but I have high hopes. This might not be the best debut of the past year, but it may be the most promising.

Grade: B


Advertisements
    • Stone Forest
    • April 23rd, 2013

    My interpretation, from here in England, having just been introduced to ‘Indestructible Machine’:

    I’d say Lydia’s voice is somewhere between June Carter & Dolly Parton, & I mean this in the most complementary way as to the power of her voice.

    I’ve got a few friends to listen, & we’re unanimously agreed that ‘Jesus Was A Wino’ ROCKS!!! It’s a superb track; in fact, a few of us in a ‘loose’ Country-Blues band want to cover it.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: