For most of the past decade, Courtney Taylor and his Portland posse often seemed like one-trick lightweights who got lucky with a mobile phone advert. When their major-label deal ended in 2007, a shaky career built on two-chord retro pastiche and occasional nudity seemed destined to fizzle out.
But never underestimate Taylor’s ambition, because the first all-new album in four years from the oldest swingers in indie-rock is possibly their best yet. Once a nasal indie-boy whine, Taylor’s voice here, heavily treated, becomes a lascivious growl on lustrous, doomy, shoegazing psych-rockers like Sad Vacation and Well They’re Gone, before sharpening into an Iggy-style snarl on the boisterous Enjoy Yourself.
A little disjointed, with some generic padding towards the end, This Machine may ultimately be a triumph of inventive arrangements and lush production over songwriting.
But, whatever their secret ingredient, these Warholian survivors sound refreshed and rebooted, extending their 15 minutes of fame well into their second decade.