Fingers Cut Megamachine - Pipe Dreams (Cover Artwork)

Fingers Cut Megamachine

Pipe Dreams (2005)


Fingers Cut Megamachine's debut album was postponed a number of times before being released, so it seems surprising that Devon Williams could crank out an EP only seven months later. Still, nothing here seems rushed. The six songs on Pipe Dreams are hushed and relaxed acoustic numbers that dabble in folk, country, and indie pop as they move from moments of isolation and longing to bursts of self-assurance and exultation.

The instrumentation is more minimalist this time around, making Pipe Dreams more Elliott Smith than Wilco. Williams uses much more picking than straight strumming, and percussion only appears on a couple tracks in the form of bass drum, tambourine, and maracas. By stripping away some layers, the songs take on more of an intimate and emotionally charged feel.

Opener "Mud Hands" and closer "Shadows in the Dark" are somber and serene. Williams mixes moody note picking with restrained vocals to give the songs a bedroom performance feel. "Our Love" and "Mousetrap," on the other hand, are bouncy tunes just dying to break out. The former is the only track to feature any electric guitar, while both show that Williams has become even more adept vocally. His voice sounds stronger, while his execution of harmonies and layered vocals is often beautiful.

Sandwiched between these four songs are "Wings of Mother" and "Arrows." While the two tracks are essentially solo performances, they seem to stem from more of a "half full" philosophy than the EP's opener and closer.

The singer/songwriter's only questionable choice on the EP seems to be the inclusion of keys in certain songs. At times it works great by creating an almost string-like backing, but on "Our Love" it sounds like a synth line was stolen from an `80s pop song and interjected where it did not belong. Still, it doesn't ruin the song as much as cause an eyebrow to be raised.

Devon Williams has again demonstrated that he is a talented songwriter that is well versed in Americana on Pipe Dreams.