Monday, February 25, 2019

Single Review: ZWAREMACHINE Smile That Killed A Country (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Place of origin: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Genre: Electro-industrial, darkwave
Single: Mach Fox and I Ya Toyah: Smile That Killed A Country
Label: Independent
Release date: February 18, 2019
Zwaremachine released their new single ‘Smile That Killed A Country’ on February 18, to follow the 2018 single Remain Unseen, the 2018 full length Be A Light and the 2011 EP Raumschiff. This single was released to announce the 'Zwaremachine and I Ya Toyah Code Blue Tour' which the electro/darkwave project plans to embark upon this spring; information about this tour can be read at their official site. 'Smile That Killed A Country' is a collaboration between Zwaremachine's founding member Mach Fox and a Chicago, Illinois, USA based artist known as I Ya Toyah who has released a handful of singles to promote her 2018 full length Code Blue. Before checking out this single I’d suggest listening to her Bandcamp profile. Her approach to gothic and electro music is as absorbing as the persona she built around her act: that of an extraterrestrial/otherworldly creature who arrived on Earth to infect the human race with her art. The mixture of her organic vocals and electronic sounds is haunting, sexual and inveigling, a chimeric complement to Mach Fox’s noir-futuristic songwriting. Her voice alone brings fresh operatic elements to Zwaremachine and electro in general. This track reminds me of a band I heard years ago but still remember to this day, Cockfight Club and their song Vampiric. ‘Smile That Killed A Country’ is to the distant future what that song was to the distant past, as if the vampires CC sang about was reawakened in the age of super computers, artificial intelligence and virtual reality. I am also reminded of Nine Inch Nails and even Sade in some places. I Ya Toyah and Mach Fox not only share lead vocals while D-bot’s bass organically complements the programming, they interact with themes of seduction and enslavement that penetrates your mind and soul. The lyrics imply a vampiress so overwhelmingly beautiful she has the power to entrance massive numbers of humans. From the first line "like a distant scream" reiterated several times to the intimate physical contact reiterated in the chorus, the song in both its versions explores the concept of sex and death on a much deeper level than you would have thought. As horrifying as it is beautiful, it undermines your expectations of electronic music and reconsider its boundaries. -Dave Wolff

Mach Fox: Vocals, programming
I Ya Toyah: Vocals
D-bot: Bass guitar

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