The 80’s wasn’t just about bright bubblegum coloured clothes and dodgy fake sun dyed hair; this is an image of the decade that is about as realistic as a happy go lucky George Michael chatting up a woman on an early Wham! video. The 80’s were also about a time where the old order of jobs for life and an aspiration for a house with a Teasmaid on the bedside cabinet to wake you up with a cup of freshly brewed tea, were being swept away by both new opportunities and threats.
Manchester based Mercury Machine are a bunch of seasoned musicians (Lee Maguire – Lead vocal and guitar, Carl Street – Bass and Vocals, Rob Stockton – Keys/Synth and vocals, Tim Burge – guitar and Gav Foley – Drums) who for the past 5 years have been chipping away at this veneer of the bouncy 80’s. Mercury Machine use strong vocals with a bit of that fabled Manchester swagger, guitar and sweeping synth keys to recall both the innocent fun and the edgy uncertainty of the decade.
Mercury Machine’s latest single Aurora is epic and soaring but it also has an ultimately deep and aching feel to it. There’s a temptation to reference the likes of The Cure or Echo and the Bunnymen when thinking about Mercury Machine, but while there is some similarity I also get some of the earlier synth bands who knew the term “doom laden” but who mixed it with a lighter bouncy sound; check out Tubeway Army (Gary Numan) or The Comsat Angles for example. If you ever wondered what an after gig jam session with Tears for Fears and Joy Division might sound like, look no further.
The guys in Mercury Machine have a strong pedigree in music which extends back to the 90’s and a number of prominent bands (Lee and Gav were in Alone during the 90’s, Carl was lead singer of Peacock Green and Tim was in Promise), so as you might expect Aurora is a very polished and accomplished track which re-models the 80’s without ignoring the subsequent 35 years.
If you like those soaring 1980’s synth bands but want the feel of a bit of gritty realism then Mercury Machine will raise your temperature, and the great news is that we can expect a further new single, The Lost from the guys in mid September.