IT’S RARE for a band to be this independent and this accessible, particularly considering the high-road snobbery that often comes with financing your own product in a market where Hannah Montana smiles and makes enough dough to buy a car with diamond-studded wheels. But Make Your Move, in spite of its zero-dollar budget, is sugary sweet, its sharp melodies belted by a charismatic front lady who would just as soon dance alone as she would take your sweaty hand.
“Silhouette” is a Metro Station-by-way-of-Paramore rocker that gets off to a slow start—moody strings accenting Jayna Doyle’s rapid fire, broken heart poetry—but soon enough explodes in electronic samples, hip-shaker beats and an all too familiar “oh-oh-OH-oh” rallying cry at its finale. Neither witty nor whiny, the irony is TMiM mourning love lost while playing to the crowd with a determined swagger bent to break hearts.
“Models & Bottles” is the only track from the band’s first EP to make the follow-up. With nonsensical lyrics, it’s all the fun of a boisterous drunk: “Dress me up and I’ll wear you down/I’m just a suicide note/In a suicide town.” Here, guitars sound muscular and solid, while the synths and vocal distortion at the bridge take the forefront of the mix, edging the band out of the realm of new wave-revival and into something more suitable for raving. The synth interlude is an irritatingly memorable melody, by the way.
“Up in Arms” is the most musically interesting of the offerings this go-around. Opening with a brief, solemn piano overture—bolstered by peppery drum beats and building to a sweeping chorus—the track takes an interesting turn by featuring thick, funky guitar in its verses; a surprising homage to chick-metal, courtesy of Evanescence or Flyleaf, in the bridge; and a finale that pushes the whole piece over the edge of angry or scared, straight into haunting. The band harness the energy with which they’ve previously tackled loss into the only composition that doesn’t roll its eyes or bat its lashes. Is that a tear?
“Marianismo” is a high note on which to leave us hanging, if a bit redundant, reminding us of what we already know: namely, that This Machine is Me are a) sick of your bull, b) kicking butt and taking names, and c) having one heck of a time doing it. This often cynical, occasionally vulnerable foray into dance-rock doesn’t reinvent the wheel—it rides that sucker into town to buy a keg.
John Wofford is a writer in Fairmount, Georgia.
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