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Mechanical Bride – Living With Ants

Mechanical Bride, Living With Ants

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

LIVING With Ants, the debut album from Mechanical Bride – aka 25-year-old songwriter and self-taught musician Lauren Doss – has some fine moments. But it also needs winding up in other places.

Doss’s style is often slow and methodical with songs starting out in sparse, extremely stripped back fashion. A piano is often the sole musical accompaniment of note.

Her voice is beguiling but sometimes the deliberate nature of her approach is yawn-inducing.

Album opener Magpie is a case in point, when the methodical nature of the composition fails to gel despite a gradual layering in of instruments.

It’s a shame, for when Doss gets it right the mix can be intoxicating. And it’s never far off.

Former single Colour of Fire, for instance, opens with another bittersweet piano chord, yet somehow works much better. It’s disarmingly simple, with Doss’s vocals occasionally recalling Imogen Heap. But the layered in strings and subtle beats somehow work as a much more satisfying whole, so that come the three minute mark the song has completely stolen your heart.

And yet such moments merely serve to underline the times the album doesn’t leave you with the same kind of impression.

Peach Wolves falls into the same trap of never really getting going, whereas conversely the piano arrangement that ushers in By Night is much, much better… especially when an almost dance-style beat kicks in to add a late night vibe to proceedings.

If anything, on that track, Mechanical Bride approach the cinematic sweep of an act like Mogwai instrumentally, while her almost spoken vocal forces you to sit up and take notice, especially so when she begins to add a chant to the mix.

Demons, too, showcases a fuller sound that’s very welcome, while To The Fight has a chiming percussion almost from the outset to embellish the bouncing piano chords. It’s another album highlight.

If Mechanical Bride can deliver more of the same on a sophomore album, and cut back on the slower, sparser, more patience testing numbers, she could really be onto a winner.

As things stand, Living With Ants is a fascinating curiosity… an album that yields some great moments, so long as you’re patient enough to seek them out.

Watch the stunning Colour of Fire video:

Download picks: Colours of Fire, By Night, To The Fight, Demons

Track listing:

  1. Magpie
  2. Young Gold (You Stole My Heart)
  3. Colour of Fire
  4. Peach Wolves
  5. By Night
  6. Lakes
  7. To The Fight
  8. Walk Into The Forest
  9. Demons
  10. Boom! (Shine A Light)