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Published: 2012/05/23
by Brian Robbins

Brokedown Boozehound
This Machine Melts Faces


Any band who comes out of the hole with a debut album titled This Machine Melts Faces had best be ready to deliver. Brokedown Boozehound has done just that.

The NYC-based quartet will make your brain tingle with some “who does that remind me of …?” vibes of the classic rock and funk variety – but they do it in the best of ways, avoiding direct quotes or clichés. At the same time, they know how to put together tunes that are interesting and eclectic without sounding like they’re trying too hard to be just that. For all the different musical moods to be found on This Machine Melts Faces, Brokedown Boozehound never loses their way, resulting in a surprisingly mature-sounding album.

Right off the bat, BB proves that they know how to catch your ear with a funky, driving “Mission Accomplished” – featuring rapped-out lyrics and a massive bee-toned guitar hook by guitarist/vocalist Douglas Flynn. Flynn’s co-singer/picker Steve Deluca lays down a bit of guitar at the tune’s end that sounds like it’s being played through a Leslie cabinet. Two minutes and a single second into the album and “Mission Accomplished” is outta there, making room for the buoyant intro of “Make A Break”. The first few moments might feel like the Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place (Naïve Melody)” but it quickly takes a turn for the slightly darker with bassist Anil Bilgic and drummer Erik Van Batavia working the rhythm like two boxers sharing a speed bag, never missing a punch while letting the groove rebound back to them.

There are big soundscapes galore: “Outlander” feels like a punkish rockabilly-tinged number that could be the opening song on a sci-fi western movie soundtrack. In the meantime, you can imagine “Mr. Nomad Ex-Broker” playing while the credits roll on some flick where the hero drags his weary ass into the sunset (after a detour through a field of waist-high Venusian daisies at the 2:23 mark – just before the music takes a swirl into a majestic “Little Wing”-style soaring solo by Flynn). “Livin’ Hard” conjures up visions of a time-warp meeting between a vintage version of Santana and the late Shannon Hoon, former frontman for Blind Melon; Deluca takes the lead voice with both he and Flynn laying down some tasty fretwork. (Deluca’s lad-and-a-guitar solo performance on “In An Hourglass” is a showcase of heart-on-the-sleeve folkiness while Flynn’s “Love Myself” might remind you of an early Mike Doughty demo with its percussive chording and wordplay.)

“By My Side” combines Red Hot Chili Peppers bounce with the playfulness of Phish’s “Sample In A Jar”; “Side Of The Road” features some deft guitar relay by Deluca and Flynn over some cool rhythm devilishness by Van Batavia; and Bilgic’s bass owns – owns – “Cracker Jack”.

All in all, Brokedown Boozehound has created a debut to be proud of, never overplaying their cards while showing enough of them to let you know what they’re capable of.

This Machine Melts Faces. Indeed.

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