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Machine Translations : The Bright Door

After a six-year gap, the once-prolific J. Walker revives his Machine Translations moniker to document the complications and anxieties of growing older on his eighth album, The Bright Door. This follow-up to 2007’s Seven Seven was originally slated as an electro album; it’s far from it, and it’s delay can be mostly attributed to the rude interruptions of real life, whether they be joyous or heartbreaking. These highs and lows are all captured in the sound of The Bright Door, its gentle, harmonious songs harbouring a sense of discord and foreboding.

 

“I went back to the beginning” croaks Walker at the end of the opening verse of album highlight Needles, and there’s an ever-present want for a simpler world across these ten tracks. Apples make numerous appearances in the lyrics, that simple fruit that marked the twist in the tale of Adam and Eve. But Walker also finds his inner snake, with songs like the tense opener Perfect Crime and the Eastern-tinged Anne bringing back the edge of his earliest material. The album winds down, but also hits its peak, with the 14-minute stretch of Applecore and Needles. There’s just a few minutes breath before the title track, which is a lesser ballad and the weak link of an otherwise invigorating album.

 

BY CHRIS GIRDLER                                                                                

 

Best Track: Needles

If You Like These, You’ll Like This: Beat CHRIS KNOX, A Loud Call  HOLLY THROSBY, Bad Shapes MACHINE TRANSLATIONS

In A Word: Contemplative