Flooding out of Glasgow, Scotland in 2022, Water Machine has gained a reputation for their weird and wonky art-punk, winning hearts with sing-along songs about dogs, struggling artists and the housing crisis. A band with pop sensibilities and indignant punk urgency, these oddballs dart from sweet C86 to spiky post-punk, often within a single song. Taking influence from everywhere - from LiLiPUT to The Pastels - tunes are always on the verge of falling apart or breaking down.
The world of Water Machine is a swirling eddy of melodic bass lines and volatile guitar sliding between jazz chords and punk riffs, all the while narrated by sardonic social commentary and silly stories. Driving rhythms thumped out on a sparse kit with cowbell flourishes are reminiscent of Beat Happening and The Jesus and Mary Chain, while cherubic vocal and violin harmonies hint at country and folk influences.
With the band yet to celebrate its second birthday, a self-titled demo tape on local DIY stalwarts Gold Mold Records and the “Raw Liquid Power” EP - via legends of the leftfield Upset the Rhythm - have already made fans out of Henry Rollins and Marc Riley. 2023 saw them tour the UK, stopping in Salford for a BBC Radio 6 Music live session.
Founding members vocalist Hando Morice (they/them), bassist Flore de Hoog (she/her) and guitarist Jimmy Gage (he/him) are familiar faces from far flung corners of the Glasgow DIY scene - from hardcore to synth-pop. Now perpetually propelled by drummer Nicky Duncan (he/him), Water Machine distils the disjointed into something new. They get under your skin, they are water ingress penetrating the walls of your flat. Your landlord can’t paint over them and you can’t get them out of your head. The cogs keep turning and you’ve got to stay hydrated.
We announced Glasgow’s preferred purveyors of weird and wonky art-punk with the new single ‘Art Fair / Blisters’ as a two-track 7" lathe-cut edition. Recorded with Ronan Fay at the illustrious Green Door Studios, and mixed and mastered by frequent collaborator Ross McGowan at Chime Studios, this double-A side marks a departure from previous release ‘Raw Liquid Power’.
‘Art Fair’ is a stomping tale of rejection and dejection, of self-employed artists desperate for a sale. Lyrically, it’s an unabashed first person demand for attention - “You see I made all this for you and I’m feeling so unloved”; musically, it’s a hybrid of angular 70s proto-punk and contemporary Australian post-punk, like Eddy Current Suppression Ring by way of Television.
Conversely, ‘Blisters’ is a sunny ode to sore feet and late nights, a sing-along number channelling The Pastels with its laissez-faire la la las. An infectious, wriggling earworm of a tune with an irresistible chorus - “I got blisters on my hands, I got blisters on my feet” - it builds to a frenzied, clownish cacophony that collapses in on itself with a final flourish, like the end of a magic trick. Ta-da!
You can order 'Art Fair / Blisters’ here.