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Monster In The Machine: Butterfly Pinned

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Monster In The Machine's main guy, Shannon Crawford, was in a band called Cellophane a few years back. Unfortunately, Cellophane kind of fizzled out as many bands do. Crawford took a few years off to collect himself and has now returned with this strange collection. Released on Korn guitarist James "Munky" Schaffer's Emotional Siphon label, Butterfly Pinned is just spilling with ideas and is full of atmospherics and well-placed, well-treated vocals. Crawford, who produced it, utilized every sound he could imagine. And to good effect.

After the first track develops, it's easy to forget about the passing hint of New York band Liars in the opening vocal lines. However the feeling returns during the chanted voices and fuzzy bass of "Dog Interlude," although you're still no closer to pinning Crawford down. The theme continues and grows on the next track, "Dog."

With a brooding and emotional voice reminiscent of David Bowie, Crawford's quickly forgiven for the few unfortunate vocal quirks. On "Helicopter," he even pulls off the Josh Homme trademarked "pretty falsetto" as he tells us how "Sally didn't have very much shame / she didn't feel too bad about her game." Though sometimes nostalgic in places, Butterfly Pinned is kind of sexy and kind of futuristic, most notably on "Burns Inside Me," with its disco beat and guitars.

As an afterthought to the music on the album, Crawford chastises the vanity of hunters and gas-guzzlers in his liner notes. Apparently his own car runs on vegetable oil. This is perplexing since the aesthetic of the music and lyrics (aside from maybe "Savior") are anything but stereotypical protest or folk or any of the usual vehicles for finger wagging. But who am I to deny the man his soap box? I just hope his tour bus is a hybrid for when he's on the road sharing this kick-ass album.

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