Washing Machines // EP
Recommended Track: Gashzilla
Ok, let’s all be adults about this and just put it right on the table: Sonic Youth. It is impossible to address Washing Machines without acknowledging the elephant in the room that is Sonic Youth’s influence. Washing Machines don’t so much wear it on their sleeves as they wear shirts sewn together from the flesh of Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon. Their name is lifted from a popular Sonic Youth album, they both utilize squalling guitars that go back and forth between dreamy textures & noisy thrash, their male vocal lead has a very similar voice to Mr. Moore, and the EP prints the band’s name in a typeface that I could have sworn (although I could be wrong) I have seen on a Sonic Youth release or piece of merchandise. Washing Machines REALLY like them some Sonic Youth and related projects. They have the stickers on their instruments to prove it to you, and they freely admit it.
Now that that’s out of the way, let me tell you what this band has going for them. For one thing, they rock the fuck out. Many bands dwelling in this aural neighborhood tend to try and reinforce how cool they are and give off an aloof presence, usually resulting in an “I’m too cool to try or show feeling” presentation. Hell, even Sonic Youth themselves have had that vibe going on for the last decade and a half. Washing Machines, on the other hand, are here to have fun, and the spirited performances by the band on tracks like “Garbage Dick” and “Gashzilla” prove it. Lead singer Lucas Parvaz is not afraid to fuck up his throat with some gnarly yelling and the rest of the band WAILS on their instruments when the mood calls for it. On top of that, Le’lani Lancaster’s instrument of choice, an electric mandolin provides a nice, clean, high-end contrast to the shrieking feedback and thrashing of the guitars & bass, keeping the music plenty tuneful amidst the raucous rockin’ of her band mates.
Are Washing Machines doing anything we haven’t heard before? Not really. Are they doing what we have heard before very well, and better than a lot people doing it? Yeah. Hell to the yeah. And for that, this EP really works for me. It probably will to the average listener as well, just depending on how much you need a band to have a distinct sound.