Reviews High Tension Wires Welcome New Machine

High Tension Wires

Welcome New Machine

Namedropping in reviews is an easy thing to do, and I’m not averse to it myself. The obvious ones for High Tension Wires come via the members’ pedigree (Riverboat Gamblers, Marked Men, The Reds, Bad Sports). I usually try to limit it to that—the other projects that members have worked in, and how it compares with said artists’ output. Still, High Tension Wires bring other bands to mind. Unforgettable, classic bands. At more than one point on Welcome New Machine, I found myself thinking about The Stooges, with maybe hints of The Buzzcocks on the other side of the spectrum. There’s definitely a more notable Marked Men and Riverboat Gamblers feel than Iggy’s namesake band, but the influences are still there.

This is the Denton, TX band’s third release, though it’s my first exposure to the band. From the first few measures of “Get Weird,” I knew this was a record worth spinning. The guitars play precisely-timed rhythm as Mike Wiebe and Mark Ryan trade vocals in a style that’s, oh, let’s say 30% aggressive, 70% melodic. I left my pie chart in my other pants, but record’s energy is in the groovy hooks and not from strain. In other words, it’s pop-structured singalong stuff, but there’s a tension that bubbles beneath the surface throughout. This isn’t bubblegum garage, but punk-inspired, carefully tempered havoc coming from people who know how to use their instruments, both in the punk sense of reckless banging away as well as in a more traditional (i.e. skilled) sense. Songs like “I’m Too Square You’re Too Round,” blend Ryan’s precise guitars with Wiebe’s vocal style in a perfect match, that goes full bore and builds a steady energy without ever breaking into chaos. The song rides a steady wave of awesome for just under two minutes, and shifts into the slightly more pop-rhythm of album closer, “The Secret of the Hydrogen Bomb,” a Riverboat Gamblers-style song complemented by a driving organ that holds down the pedal until a climatic ending, leaving the record with the same forceful energy that it started with.

This is the kind of record that, not only will get played a few times each week, it will make me dig up the band’s past catalog.

9.0 / 10Loren
Advertisement
KFAI - Roar of the Underground
Leave a comment

Dirtnap

2011

9.0 / 10

9.0 / 10

Share this content
Related features

One Question Interviews Riverboat Gamblers

Posted Jan. 14, 2014, 7:40 a.m.

Mike Wiebe (Riverboat Gamblers, High Tension Wires) SPB: In addition to your multiple bands, you've taken to stand-up comedy recently too. What drew you ...

Advertisement
KFAI - Root Of All Evil
Recent reviews

Black Lips

…Sing In a World That’s Falling Apart

7.0 / 10 Black Lips - …Sing In a World That’s Falling Apart album cover

In an era of heart-on-sleeve Americana, the Black Lips are up to something else on …Sing In a World That’s Falling Apart. Black Lips approach Americana in this record in half ...

(මහසෝනා​)​*

යන්ත්‍ර.මන්ත්‍ර.ගුරුකම්!

7.0 / 10 (මහසෝනා​)​* - යන්ත්‍ර.මන්ත්‍ර.ගුරුකම්! album cover

Given that I’ve put together year-end lists of the strangest albums I heard for the past couple years, I was pointed to this release coming out of Sri Lanka. It’s ...

Personality Cult

New Arrows

7.8 / 10 Personality Cult - New Arrows album cover

I like to find new bands. One of the challenges as I get older is exactly that. I listen to a lot of music, but a lot of it follows ...

x

Logo

Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.