Robyn Stockdale of Graphik Nature Studios

Initially formed as a backup for Liverpool,NY-based singer songwriter Christopher Ames, this band came together in 2007 as a group of supporting musicians for Christopher Ames’ solo career. They later on gained more chemistry and felt that their ideas deserve to be an entity of its own. Mainly influenced by The Beatles, Foo Fighters and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, they felt inspired to pour out a lot of their ideologies of living in machines (which one cannot escape from) and being surrounded by dystopia. Hence the record was named “Life Outside The Machine”. 

The first track “Endless Loop” begins with the “Hush Little Baby” lullaby and then fades into a riff that follows the same melody and has a refrain that feels upbeat  despite the not so uplifting lyrics. A lyric that stood out for me was “Your passion is somebody else’s pain, it’s burning like a phoenix the cycle on and on it goes”. 

Second track “Scandal” is a nice interlude that’s only a nice and heavy riff and then we go into the third track “Here We Go” which has a somewhat generic main riff, but the song has strong vocals anyhow. It caught my attention only once we reached the solo which was so beautiful and original. Hall of mirrors is a creepy an emotional ballad with really nothing more to notice than hos nostalgic of the 80s it feels. It then fades into another interlude “Know Return” which has a lyric libe do you fear to smash the mirrors and then ends in the sound of glass shattering; beautiful details like these help carry the point and concept of the album across.

After that the title track begins and it’s my favourite of the album because of its powerful and engaging vocal performance.

The following track “10 Seconds Either Way” feels like a post-grunge ballad from the mid 2000s and is kind of catchy but overly simple for that matter too. Again only the solo part of the song feels original and at this point I felt like with every track’s beginning I’m expecting the solo or thr weird instrument which will be the song’s highlight. “Forever 21” has extremely melodic guitar riffs that felt so enjoyable to listen to. “Dancing with Ghosts” begins with a very catchy keyboard melody that at first feels reminiscent of The Doors and then has a nice vocal hook that feels a lot more modern-ish. Beautiful clean guitars and soft vocals are complemented by a surprising saxophone refrain that feels very fresh.

“In the Afters” is another beautiful power ballad that has a piano melody that I really enjoyed. It feels like the album was saving the best for last. During this song we actually get a conversation with the machine and the fact that it’s a ballad made me focus more on the lyrics.

“Storie Fantasma” starts with a very southern sounding riff. It has one of the most memorable solos and Chris’ beautiful belting ability shines here.

The last and longest track on the album “Move” has the same uplifting nature as the first track and is very good as an album closer that has many elements from the previous tracks like the clean guitars as well as now ones like the beautiful and catchy bass riff. 

To conclude, the riffs in these songs are generally simple and easy to follow and most of the innovation lies in the solos and lyrics of the album, with a few exceptions of course. Christopher Ames’ Band feels like a band born in the wrong generation; essential but not necessarily exceptional or outstanding more than the rest. I’m pretty sure I wanna hear more from their amazing talent but this also means that I’m looking forward to more different and diverse ideas and hopefully the same strong lyrical concepts as this.

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