The Mechanic

Al Marantz

Cudighi Records, 2022

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


The multi-instrumentalist Al Marantz finds himself in the company of Travis Hagan (drums), Jeff Somers (lead guitar on one track) and John Brown (backing vocals and direction) for this certainly atypical and memorable 11 tracks and just over 30 minutes of very distinct indie-pop.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Rotten Progress” opens the listen with an acutely charming brand of indie-rock that uses crisp drumming, playful bass lines and very descriptive singing to its advantage, and “Mechanical Heartbeat” follows with a more folk-friendly approach that swirls with retro melodies you won’t soon forget.

Elsewhere on the first half of the listen, the cozy spirit of “Street Dog” jangles playfully, while “Open Up Your Blinds” gets a bit hazy with some psychedelic bouts. “Interlude,” which clocks in under a minute, is even more cinematic and exploratory in a sci-fi sort of way.

The back half of the listen is just as great, and even a bit more diverse. “Blue Dye” recruits some jazz nods into its rhythmic energy, and “Wait In The Gutter” gets quite soulful with its very precise use of piano. The album’s best tune, “Harvey Gunn,” lands near the end, and is fueled by acoustic guitar as it emits a stylish folk quality.

“Memory Palace” and “Ode” exit the record, where the former is a dreamy, lo-fi affair, and the latter finishes the listen bare, soothing even, and might even be spiritual to some ears.

Music this atypical usually takes several listens to really earn its worth (to me, at least), but Marantz’s vision is instantly striking and often reminds me of the first time I heard Jeff Humphrey (R.I.P.) and his brand of lo-fi folk-pop.

If you’re like me and still prefer music in physical form, you'll need a cassette player, and it’s a colorful one with a download code, too.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2023 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Cudighi Records, and is used for informational purposes only.