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Math Rock Schmath Rock

Turing Machine
A New Machine For Living
(Jade Tree)

With the explosion in instrumental rock over the past couple of years on the indie scene, there have been all kinds of bands come and go. There are the almost freeform bands like Storm And Stress (although not completely instrumental) doing their thing while other bands like Don Caballerro (made up of some of the same members) perform with almost mathlike precision a lot of the time (earning their title of "math rock"). There are other bands like Tristeza who create music in more of the spaced-out realm, with lots of twinkling guitars and nicely layered keyboards.

The Turing Machine falls somewhere in-between bands like Don Cab and Tristeza, playing a sort of loose blend of instrumental rock with drums, guitars, bass and the occassional keyboard that isn't actually afraid to rock at times. On this, their debut album, they run through 7 songs in about 42 minutes time and one of those clocks in at less than one minute, leaving them with some pretty lengthy tracks.

While it is this length that sometimes helps the group, it's also something that hurts them a bit at some points when the songs simply drag on for a bit too long without direction. After the very short opening track of "4/13/72," the group drops the 7 and a half minute long "Flip Book Oscilloscope" and it's an excellent track that undulates just the right amount and completely rocks out in points. Not letting things stagnate too long, the album then pretty much explodes with the 2-minute track "The Doodler." Like the titled suggests, it's not really much more than a couple chord changes, but the group makes it blister.

While the first half of "Robotronic" is good in building some tension by juxtaposing the quiet guitar drone with some stacatto punches, the latter half of the track is much more interesting once things really take off. Even though it's a bit longer, "(Got My) Rock Pants On" changes up things enough to stay pretty interesting before the album winds down with the shorter "On Form And Function" and the meandering "Swiss Grid." Overall, it's a pretty decent instrumental rock release, especially if you like the bands who don't mind stepping on the feedback pedal once in awhile. The group works the dynamics fairly well and although they drag out a few songs too long, they show a lot of promise.

Rating: 6.5