The Letters Organize - Dead Rhythm Machine (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Letters Organize

Dead Rhythm Machine (2005)


It's safe to say that thanks to A Wilhelm Scream, the two currently rumored and all but confirmed signings, and now the Letters Organize, Nitro Records may very well pull off one of its most consistent strings of releases in quite a while. Dead Rhythm Machine isn't perfect, but the caustically displayed mix of hardcore, rock, art punk and melody is pretty refreshing as a whole.

Vocalist Brent Jay's melodic side isn't particularly strong, and it's obvious, as it's always dressed in effects and a bit low in the mix, seemingly drowned out by everything else when it's applied. His scream, however, is visceral, a style overall reminiscent of Vaux and Billy Talent. Musically, the band takes from the former as well in its blistering intensity and interchanging rhythm section, but adds a little more melody and seems to be helped more from a crisp production sound and panic-driven, manic energy than an early 90's grunge influence and guitar-assisted wall of sound.

In both the music and chaos it's clear the band takes a bit from the Bronx as well, but they use it to their advantage, never touching upon any serious aping. Though the band really doesn't offer many singalong-able parts during the course of the disc, audience participation is encouraged, I'm sure. The minute handclaps of "I Want I Want" should be a fun live challenge, while Jay's temperamental schizophrenia in "Trouble Sleeping" somehow adds to the rock‘n'roll feel of the song's chorus.

One major flaw to the record is how the flow is irritatingly disrupted as the disc reaches its last few tracks; smack dab in the middle of "The Costume In The Corner" is the beginning of a minute-long "outro" of sorts that quietly closes it out before going into track 11, "A Book For Dummies"…not exactly a choice place for an interlude. It disappointingly prevents the record from really going out with a bang.

Still, Dead Rhythm Machine is a consistent collection of tracks from a promising outfit that never compromises its aggressiveness for melody, instead juxtaposing the two together well, unlike some of their peers.

Dressed Up In Gatwick
They Call It Rock N Roll (And Other Lies)