Listening to “Taco Blessing’s” first track “Zero Kid” really brings individuals back to the heydays of Gilman St; Modern Machines come through with the intensity of a band like early Descendents while still having a pop-punk edge a la Pinhead Gunpowder and “Blue Room-era” Unwritten Law. The recording might be a little fuzzy, but the sizzling guitars and catchy lyrics of the band still shine through as bright as day. The second salvo from Modern Machines covers much of the same ground as “Zero Kid”, while moving back to the days of The Dickies for the the distinct vocal flow.
The guitar work on “Ay, Paisano!” is a direct descendent of the culmination of rockabilly and surf music; the quality in which the solo is constructed during “Ay, Paisano!” really adds a flair to what would normally be a straightforward punk rock track. This general influence is taken to its logical extension during “M.A.D.”, which uses what sounds to be an upright bass to give the track a 45 Grave meets Tiger Army type of sound (albeit not quite as hygienic sounding as music from that genre). “Moon Throws A Shadow” really innovates the vocals of Modern Machines, as the tenor of vocals on this track really is more reminiscent to either The Bloody Irish Boys or Social Distortion; the catchiness of this song is unmatched owing much to the increased vocal role taken by the band. With a runtime that is nearly the longest of the duisc (“Tail Lights” is te only one that tops that), there is no doubting that The Modern Machines can go anywhere and be as famous as they wish to be with how successfully they pulled off this new punk classic.
This is not to say that the other tracks on this disc are necessarily weaker than “Moon Throws A Shadow”; “Go For It Girls” really maintains the same quality of arrangement and style even if it has a rawer, less poppy edge to it. “Tail Lights” may be the most innovative track on “Taco Blessing”; noodling around with a much slower tempo and the presence of simplistic arrangement, the band sounds much closer to The Replacements or Husker Du than Roger Miret and Social Distortion. Modern Machines succeed in creating a distinct sound in twenty minutes that it takes some bands over a decade to compile. Twenty-one minutes has the weight of over an hour when one considers the care in which the band stuffs each track.
Top Tracks: Tail Lights Rating: 7.8/10
Modern Machines – Taco Blessing / 2005 Recess / 8 Tracks / http://www.modernmachines.org / http://www.recessrecords.com / Reviewed 07 October 2005